Studying the brain, understanding the mind

Studying the brain, understanding the mind

More than 2,400 years ago, Socrates pondered the relationship between the human brain and the mind. He asked what role the brain might play, not just in how we see, hear and smell, but in how we remember, understand and know.

Today, scientists are finally beginning to answer some of those questions. And the Imaging Research Center (IRC) -- with a new director in place and a new brain-scanning lab under construction -- is poised to play a major role in doing so.

The development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines during the past two decades has allowed researchers to study different parts of our brain at work, to look at how they affect behavior, personality and thinking, and to begin to help those who suffer from mental illness or brain damage.

"This has completely changed cognitive neuroscience and psychology," said Russell Poldrack, the incoming IRC director, who is on faculty in both the departments of Psychology and Neurobiology. "It's given us the opportunity to ask a lot of questions about the relationship between the brain and the mind." Watch a video of Poldrack.

Continue reading about the groundbreaking work being done at the IRC.