Novel Developments in Cognitive fMRI
The past decade has seen dramatic growth in the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand the neural mechanisms of cognitive processes. Strikingly, this growth has been driven not by technical advances—indeed, the methods used to study cognition often lag those targeting physiological or biophysical questions—but by new insights into experimental design and analysis. This chapter considers the factors that have allowed the rapid expansion of fMRI into new disciplines, particularly within the social sciences. It focuses on two areas of recent emphasis, neuroeconomics and social neuroscience that together illustrate the capabilities and limitations of applying fMRI to human cognition. While the future directions of fMRI will include continued progress in these and other fields, there will be increasing emphasis on commercial and policy applications and on new biomarkers for clinical disorders.
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