An Introduction to Brain Imaging

Travis DixonBiological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology

Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Three of the important brain imaging technologies you should know about are:

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • PET (Positron Emission Tomography)

Discuss the use of, means you can write about a range of issues relating to the use of technology. For example the benefits (and/or limitations) of using technology in general, and the strengths and limitations of individual technologies. For example, PETs are useful for diagnosing abnormalities such as tumours, but they require the injection of a radioactive substance, that while harmless, still inhibits how often a person can undergo a PET scan.



After we’ve learned this in class, play this game of jeopardy to test your knowledge…

Brain Imaging Jeopardy Lab


Here’s a video that outline’s a correlation between violence and the brain. Watch it and try to figure out what the two different types of technologies used are:

The end of this video raises some interesting questions regarding the ethicality of the implications of brain research – could they be used to identify those likely to commit a crime and take preventative actions before they happen (sounds a bit like the film ‘Minority Report’).

If you’re interested in learning in more detail actually how MRIs and fMRIs work, this website will be of use for you. Don’t forget you can also use your textbooks for more information on these

Here is an interesting video that explains a new brain imaging technique called Clarity. You don’t have to know this for your IB course though, this is simply for those who are interested in studying neuroscience…
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