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HIH News

When the brain scan distorts our perception

Magnetic resonance imaging - also known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - is a technique that scientists like to use to study our brains and their functions. A research team led by Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans-Otto Karnath of the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research and the Neurological University Hospital in Tübingen now reports that the examination itself influences our brain performance. The strong magnetic field of the MRI scanner unintentionally stimulates the organ of equilibrium and thus distorts spatial perception in healthy test subjects. When they are taken out of the tube again, their perception returns to normal. The finding is significant for future studies in the neurosciences. These must necessarily take into account the distorted spatial attention in the MRI scanner, the two scientists demand. The study was published in the journal eLife.

Press Release (in German only)

Symbolic image: Spatial attention directed to the right side. The red dots represent visual stimuli, the person perceives them more in the right side.

Copyright: Axel Lindner, 2021