Introduction to Functional Neuroimaging

Citation: Hernandez, L., Wager, T.D., & Jonides, J. (2002). Introduction to Functional Brain Imaging. In John Wixted and Hal Pashler (Eds.), Stevens Handbook of Experimental Psychology, Third Edition, Volume 4: Methodology in Experimental Psychology. New York: John Wiley and Sons,Inc.

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There has been explosive interest in the use of brain imaging to study cognitive and affective
processes in recent years. Examine Figure 1, for example, to see the dramatic rise in numbers of
publications from 1992 to 1999 in which the term, ?functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging? (fMRI)
appears in the title. Because of the surge of empirical work that now relies on a combination of
behavioral and neuroimaging data, it is critical for students of the mind also to be students of the brain
because data about each informs the other. Our goal in this chapter is to provide an introduction to the
growing field of neuroimaging research for those not expert in it. The chapter provides general coverage
of the various steps involved in conducting a neuroimaging experiment, from task design to interpretation
of the results. We begin by detailing several reasons one might want to use neuroimaging data to
understand cognitive and other processes. Having provided this motivation, we then trace out several
techniques that are used in the design and execution of imaging experiments. Finally, in the last section
of the chapter, we provide a detailed overview of positron emission tomography (PET) and fMRI: a
review of the physics underlying each technique and the analysis tools that can be used to work with the
resulting data. In these three sections, we hope to illustrate to the reader the why, the what, and the how of
functional neuroimaging.