Basics of fMRI in Cognitive Psychology 3H PSYCH4090

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Psychology
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course will give a basic introduction to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research in Cognitive Psychology. How can we learn about the cognitive processes involved in human cognition using fMRi? We will show modern examples of cognitive research and go step by step through experimental planning, data recording, data analysis. The class will select a task which will be recorded and analysed together. The class will learn about the delay of hemodynamic responses, the importance of pre-processing, the interpretation of fMRI data. They will follow four examples of contemporary fMRI research performed in the department from i.e. visual illusion perception, to higher cognitive decision making.


10 hours in first semester

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Level 2 psychology

Excluded Courses



Coursework is a written analysis of data-set with an evaluation of conditions (20 %). Examination consists of answering three questions from a set of five (80%).

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

Functional brain imaging has become an essential tool in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience that has changed the way we think about the brain today. This course aims to give a basic and practical introduction to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The course will cover basic experimental design (block design), fMRI data analysis including pre-processing (Motion correction, temporal filtering), basic statistical analysis (using correlation analysis and general linear modelling). Students will learn to do a basic analysis and explain results of a simple one fMRI experiment of one subject recorded for the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Design a block design fMRI experiment, analyse pre-recorded fMRI data and pre-process the sample data, using the acquired knowledge of data analysis for a new data set involving for example mental navigation, arithmetic task.

■ Review literature about the experiment and argue an interpretation about the recorded cognitive data.

■ Explain simple pre-processing steps of the data analysis and discuss experimental design issues of fMRI research.

■ Demonstrate knowledge about motivation design and application of current fMRI research in the department including decision making, illusion perception, or social cognition and acquire hands on experience with the analysis of fMRI sample data.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.