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Are you interested in how brains work?

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So are your friends in the Gabrieli Lab!

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  • The Gabrieli Lab at MIT studies how brains work, and our friendly scientists want to study yours!We use a cool brain camera and computers to take pictures of your brain while you relax, watch movies, and play computer games.
  • Lots of kids have had pictures of their brains taken with our camera and all of them have loved seeing what their brains look like!
  • Because we really appreciate your help, we will send you home with a CD full of pictures of your brain, a gift certificate to a bookstore so you can buy some books to make your brain even more powerful, and several other brain-related gifts.
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Studying The Brain

When you participate in our studies, we will take many different kinds of pictures of your brain. Here's what we will be looking at:

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This is a picture of your brain that we take with our MRI scanner. This type of picture helps us see what all the folds in your brain look like with great detail.

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This picture helps us to identify different areas of your brain.

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The colors in this picture show the activity in different parts of your brain while you are playing games.


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This picture shows us how the different parts of your brain are connected.

A Day with EEG

What is EEG? 

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a recording of the electrical activity your brain produces while you are playing games. To be able to record this activity in your brain we need to place a cap on your head.  It is soft and stretchy, sort of like a swim cap. This cap has small holes in it where we will place some gel and then place electrodes. These “brain cell listeners” can pick up the activity of your brain. This procedure is completely harmless, but it will make your hair messy. 

What you will see?


You will see the big glass doors of our building, where it says McGovern Institute for Brain Research.



You will see computers that we will be using to record the activity of your brain as you play different games. 


You will also see a green armchair with many cushions, where you will sit while playing the games or watching a movie.



You will also see this button box, which will be the controller you use to play all the games we’ve prepared for you!


Preparing for your EEG session at MIT!


Please come with clean, dry hair.  If you usually wear your hair in braids, please take them out first.  This helps the cap fit better. 





Sometimes our room is a little chilly.  You may want to dress in layers and bring a sweater or sweatshirt that zips up the front.



Make sure you get a good night sleep before your session at MIT! 

A Day with fMRI

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What is fMRI?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and it involves using a big magnet and radio waves to take pictures of your brain; we call these structural scans. If you are asked to do a certain task while in the scanner, we call this a functional scan and we refer to it as fMRI. With the MRI scanner, we are able to take pictures of the inside of your head! A special kind of scan called a DTI scan (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) creates beautiful pictures, and allows us to see the natural flow of water in your brain!
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What will you see?
This is the scanner we will be using to take pictures. The tunnel you see is called the bore, and when you lie on the soft mattress, we can slide you in so we can take your brain pictures!
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This is the ‘mock’ scanner, where you can see what it is like to be in the real scanner. You will be able to play and practice lying still while watching movies.
Preparing for your fMRI session at MIT!
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1. When you arrive, we will go into the control room and make sure that you don’t have any metal on your clothes or in your pockets using a wand that detects metal. If you have any metal, the scanner will not be able to take pictures of you.
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2. One of the people in the control room will then help you get onto the scanner bed, and will give you some soft earphones so you can hear the sounds of the videos!
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3. Just like a normal camera, we need you to be as still as possible while you are in the scanner. If not, the pictures will be blurry!
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4.Please come to the session well rested. Also, be sure you've eaten prior to coming in for the study if the study starts or ends around meal time. We will have snacks available during the study.

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