Our lab conducts two types of studies: cognitive behavioural and neuroimaging studies

Cognitive behavioural studies involve paper or computer based tasks. Neuroimaging studies may use either magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or electroencephalography (EEG) to examine the structure and/or function of your brain.  More information about MRI is found in the FAQ section below.  

Please examine the posters below for specific eligibility criteria for these studies as they may vary.


Where does your research take place?

Most of our research is conducted in the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. If you are participating in a study, you will meet a researcher in our lab, room 1640B. Take the main staircase or nearby elevator down to the first floor, continue past hallway A and turn right down hallway B. Room 1640B is located all the way down this hall, around the corner on the right, right beside the Research MRI room. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)?

Functional magnetic resonance imaging non-invasively identifies of brain activity based on localized changes in blood flow and oxygenation. There is no administration of contrast agents.  At TBRRI, we use the 3 Tesla MR system located on the first floor of TBRHSC during research dedicated hours (there is no impact on clinical imaging times).


What does it involve?

During a fMRI study participants are positioned with their head in a sort of camera called a head coil. A mirror is attached to the head coil which allows participants to view a projection screen. Padding is used to stabilize the participants head and neck as it is important to stay still for the entire time in the MRI to ensure good quality images. Once the participant is comfortable the MRI bed is slid into the MRI. A two-way intercom allows participants and the researchers to communicate during the study.  Participants also have a call bell to get the attention of the MRI operator and researchers during scans. Severals scans will be collected each taking less than 10 minutes. The total time in the MRI is a maximum of one hour.


In order to identify areas of brain activity we compare the signal between different types of conditions.  This means that during a scan there may be periods where a participant does nothing, and other times where they may be asked to look at different pictures or make responses using a button box or trackball.  When the study is over the data collected is brought back to our lab where we use computer programs to identify which brain areas had changes in signal that correspond to the timing of tasks performed during the fMRI.

Are they any risks?

MRI involves entering a large magnetic field.  Some types of metals will be attracted to the MRI - just like a fridge magnet.  For this reason it is important to remove all metal from your body prior to the study and disclose any implants that you have. Prior to entering the MRI you will be asked to complete a screening questionnaire that will be reviewed by an MRI technologist.  It is important to be honest on this questionnaire and to ask the researcher and/or MR technologist if you have any implants that you are unsure of.

This type of imaging may be uncomfortable for people with claustrophobia. The tube or bore of the MRI is approximately 60 cm wide. The bed is slid in far enough for the person's head to be at the centre of the MRI - for most people this is approximately up to their hips. We do not provide any sedatives during scanning.  If you think this environment would be uncomfortable for you please do not volunteer.

The MRI scans are very loud so participants are provided ear protection.