Cognitive Performance in the fMRI Environment

Grant, Adam (2010). Cognitive Performance in the fMRI Environment Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Grant, Adam
Thesis Title Cognitive Performance in the fMRI Environment
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Cunnington, Ross
Total pages 89
Abstract/Summary Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has become increasingly popular in experimental psychology. However for most the fMRI environment is an unnatural and unfamiliar setting. The detrimental effect of fMRI-related environmental factors; posture constraints, claustrophobic settings and subsequent anxiety may impair cognitive performance. Additionally, the amplified prevalence of acoustic scanner background noise may also moderate cognitive functioning within the fMRI procedure. We investigated whether the fMRI environmental setting and acoustic scanner noise moderates functioning on a range of performance based cognitive tasks; N-Back test, Raven's Progressive Matrices, Sustained Attention to Response Task and Attention Network Test. Thirty participants completed cognitive performance tests within a mock fMRI scanner in silence, in the scanner under the presence of simulated scanner noise, and while seated at a computer in an optimal experimental condition. Cognitive performance (as a function of percentage errors committed) was seen to decline on all measures. It addition to this, behavioural performance (as a function of participant response reaction time) reflected fMRI in deduced impairment for the majority of tasks; Raven's Progressive Matrices, Sustained Attention to Response Task and Attention Network Test. The role of acoustic scanner noise was seen to vary as a function of task type, only attention related abilities showed performance differentiation with the addition of acoustic scanner noise. It was generally concluded that, for some cognitive abilities, performance with the fMRI is not equivalent to actual optimal performance. Repercussions for analyses of neural activation data and performance attributes within fMRI experimentation are discussed. Future study opportunities exist to clarify these effects.

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Created: Mon, 04 Apr 2011, 15:49:19 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology