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Two Person MRI

October 28, 2015

Neuroscientists are studying interactions by squeezing two people into an MRI scanner.



Face-to-face MRIs. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

What goes on in the brain when people interact? Functional MRI can image the brain, but studying interactions is difficult since subjects are scanned one by one. Now, scientists are sticking two people into the scanner at once, their faces just an inch apart. Biomedical engineer Ville Renvall at Aalto University in Finland, says subjects don’t mind the close quarters.

VILLE RENVALL (Aalto University):

It seems that people are kind of more comfortable together there than they might be alone. So they don’t feel very claustrophobic.


Rather than studying how people in an MRI react to photographs of others, the new technique allows scanning of both brains as two friends or loved ones interact, providing a dynamic look at the brain during real social interaction. Renvall described the technique at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.