Functional MRI (fMRI)

The January/February 2010 edition of Discover magazine includes an article, “The 100 Discoveries that are Changing the World”. Number 18 on the list is called, “Rise of the Mind Readers“. The article notes that functional MRIs (fMRI) can reveal to neuroscientists how the brain functions. Various studies show how the brain differentiates between true and false statements and which parts of the brain are activated in response to different stimuli. All of these studies were published in 2009.

I read about Methods in Brain Research in Learning Theories and Instruction, p.31-32. This text mentions fMRI as one method. As I read this section, I wondered about the practical applications of this research. I wondered why it mattered which part of the brain is stimulated when a person performs a particular task.

The study that shows how the brain differentiates between true and false statements helps me see how brain research can be applied. This could be a powerful interrogation tool for law enforcement personnel. Imagine if this type of test is more reliable than a traditional “lie detector” test with a  polygraph machine. Information gathered from statements made during interrogation could be treated more reliably than statements currently taken during questioning.

I am sure there are many other practical applications for brain research. I believe there is much more to be learned from studies of the brain.

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning Theories and Instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson


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