How do positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) work?

The past twenty years have seen advancements in technology that were critical to further understanding concepts in cognitive psychology. Two such developments are positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. These scans allow researchers to “see” the brain in action.

Research how brain scans can diagnose injury and disease using the Internet and the Argosy University online library resources. Based on your research, answer the following questions:

  • How do PET and MRI work?
  • If you were showing a person words while having an MRI, what brain areas would probably be active?
  • If a brain injury victim is unable to move the right arm, in which area of the brain would an MRI scan most likely reveal damage?
  • What kind of scan do you think would be best in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease?
  • How do the research tools (equipment and methodology) available today contribute to a greater understanding of “conscious processes and immediate experience” than was possible using trained introspection and structuralism?

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