Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is one of the standard tools of modern cognitive neuroscience. It allows the measurement of brain activity non-invasively by having participants lie in an MRI scanner whilst performing some psychological task. A key advantage of fMRI over other neuroimaging techniques is the high spatial resolution of the resulting brain signal.
We can use fMRI to learn what brain regions are involved in specific psychological functions, such as perception, emotion, decision-making and so on. Using state of the art analysis methods such as brain decoding, it is also now possible to investigate what information is coded in different brain regions, for example, in emotion perception.
At the UEA School of Psychology, researchers have access to dedicated research time on a state of the art 3 Tesla scanner in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH). Researchers also have access to fMRI scanners available in Maastricht (Maastricht Brain Imaging Center) where ultra-high field imaging is possible (7 Tesla).
In the UEA School of Psychology, researchers are using fMRI to study the neural mechanisms underlying the perception and production of facial expressions of emotion, how prior knowledge shapes brain processing, how memories are coded in the brain, and the neural representations involved in real tool use.