I went for a voluntary brain scan yesterday, at Cambridge’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit on Chaucer Road.
Having been interested in brains for ages, and after going to their lectures last year during Science Week, it was the natural thing to do. They’re always on the lookout for volunteers.
Undergoing an fMRI scan is not a pleasant experience, but it’s really alright. It’s surprisingly tiring to lie still on your back for 50 minutes. For me, claustrophobia wasn’t too much of an issue; via an angled mirror you can see a screen/glowing rectangle, and the rest of your world is dark, so perhaps it’s not that different from writing a blog post…
I did it all for a picture of my brain, which I annoyingly smudged within hours with, of all things, some hot chocolate powder in our Alan Partridge style stopover hotel room. Disappointingly, an electronic copy wasn’t an option, so I’ve had to redigitise the already-digital image.
Another part of the study in which I took part involved a few questionnaires. From a personal point of view, it was amusing to be asked, “when thinking about animals and birds,do you like to know the exact species?” and “do you enjoy learning the names of the capital cities of countries?”
I might as well have just shown my current Anki deck list.