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Functional MR Imaging FAQs


​​​​​​​​​​​What is a Functional MR Imaging (fMRI)?

fMRI stands for functionalMagnetic Resonance Imaging.

We use a large powerful magnet. This magnet lets us see how much blood each part of your brain is using. The more blood an area in your brain is using, the more work that area is doing. We do analyses to learn which brain areas do which mental “jobs”; e.g., respond to emotions, pay attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I participate if I have a permanent retainer?
If your retainer is MRI safe (check with your dentist or orthodontist), you can have a brain scan.

Can I participate if I have braces?
We know lots of people have braces. Although you cannot have a brain scan, you can help us out with other parts of our studies like answering questionnaires and playing computer games on a touchscreen laptop.

What should I wear?
We recommend you wear comfortable loose cotton or wool clothing. We want you to be very comfortable in the scanner.  Please do not wear athletic tops or bottoms. We always have cotton scrubs you can wear if you want to change out of your clothing.

Can I see my brain?
Absolutely! We are happy to show you a picture o​f your brain at the end of your visit.  Just remember to stay very still during the scan, that way we get an excellent picture of your brain!  The MRI is kind of like a camera, the more someone moves, the more blurry or fuzzy the picture.

What if I take medications?
If you take a stimulant medication like for ADHD (like Ritalin or Vyvanse), we may invite you to scan on Saturday mornings.  On those mornings, we ask you to not take your stimulant medication before you come in for your scan visit.  We know how these kinds of medications affect the brain, and want to see how the brain is working without these medications. After the scan, you can take the stimulant medication.

Do you keep my information safe?
Yes!  Protecting you and your information is our highest priority.  All of our studies are confidential, which means we will not share any of your information, unless someone’s safety or welfare is at risk.  That means if you share information about wanting to hurt yourself, someone else, or that someone has been hurting you, we will have to share that information with the right people.  Otherwise, all of your responses to questionnaires and the images of your brain are strongly protected.

Where can I find the results of this research?
You can check out how our research is progressing by checking out the Current Projects page!

Will there be needles?
No. Having a MRI scan is completely pain free!