fMRI Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get paid?

Studies may include compensation for participation. The typical rate is approximately $25 per hour. You may ask the experimenter when you are first contacted.

Can I get a picture of my brain?

Yes, but you must request this from the experimenter who tests you. Brain images are not intended for diagnostic purposes.

When will you contact me?

Your name will be entered in a database available to fMRI experimenters. You will likely hear from someone within a few months.

What if I decide I don't want to do it?

Contact Lucy van Eimeren at lvaneim<at> or (519)-661-2111 x85215 and your name will be removed from the database. You are always free to decline when an experimenter contacts you.

What is functional MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a strong magnetic field and low-energy radio frequency waves to obtain a picture of the anatomy. Functional MRI uses the same type of scanner that is used for patients receiving an MRI scan. However, fMRI images the level of oxygen in the blood to determine which areas of the brain are active when subjects are working with different stimuli or tasks. MRI and fMRI do not involve any radiation, x-rays, or drugs.

Is there any risk?

Our consent form reads as follows:

The Food & Drug Administration (USA) has indicated that for clinical diagnosis an ‘insignificant’ risk is associated with human MRI exposure at the intensities used in this project. Current Canadian guidelines follow the USA guidelines. Although very rare, injury and deaths have occurred in MRI units from unsecured metal objects being drawn at high speeds into the magnet or from internal body metal fragments of which the subject was unaware or had not informed MRI staff. To minimize this latter possibility it is essential that you complete a screening questionnaire. Other remote but potential risks involve tissue burns and temporary hearing loss from the loud noise inside the magnet. The latter can be avoided with ear protection that also allows continuous communication between you and the staff during the study. Because the magnet strength is so powerful, you must be certain to accurately answer any questions regarding any metal that might be in your body.