Psychology, the scientific study of how the brain works, has been around for centuries. Yet, it has only been in the past few decades that psychology has made a jump in the discoveries about the brain being made. This is because modern technology has transformed the way psychology, and other branches of science have done research. Research particularly affects the cognitive level of analysis, which looks at how the brain processes information. Technology has vastly improved the resources available to cognitive psychologists. There are three main imaging techniques that allow researchers to obtain images of brain functioning and structures. These three techniques are the PET scan, MRI, and fMRI. Through imaging techniques such as these, the relationship between cognitive processes and behavior can be better understood.
PET, or positron emission tomography, scans, help study glucose consumption and blood flow in the brain. To track the changes in the brain, a radioactive isotope with a short half-life is injected into the patient. Then the brain, or other part of the body being studied, is scanned and monitored. The radioactive isotope is hypothesized to be harmless since it has such a short half-life, but PET scans have not been around long enough to see if this is true. PET scans specifically help cognitive psychologists diagnose and understand Alzheimer's disease and problems with the hippocampus. Cognitive psychology is all about how the brain is processing information. As behaviors are changed, researchers can physically see how the brain is reacting with PET scans. MRI scans take three-dimensional pictures of brain structures and detect changes in oxygen levels similar to fMRIs. MRIs help psychologists see where the brain has more activity during problem solving and reading activities. Another important technology that psychologists use is fMRI scans.
One of the newer technologies introduced to the world of psychology is fMRI scans, or functional magnetic...
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