Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging

at Carnegie Mellon University

Participate in our Studies

Earn $75 (+ Bonus) and get a picture of your brain!!!
If you are interested in earning $75 and receiving a picture of your brain, please read the following message and return the information from the survey at the bottom of the letter. It's a 5-hour commitment and involves a 1.5 hour MRI brain scanning session.

Here's what the study is all about:
We are investigating what part of your brain is functioning while you are doing language and spatial tasks. The experiment is broken down into two parts: a practice session and an MRI session.

One or two days before the actual MRI scan, you will be asked to come in for a 2 hour practice session, where you will be given an overview of MRI procedures and the tasks you will be performing. Some tasks will be paper and pencil tasks, while others will be done on a PC. At least one computer task will be performed in our MRI simulator, a life-size replica that will familiarize you with the MRI environment. During the simulation, head-tracking equipment will also be used to give you practice keeping your head still, as this is an essential component of MRI scanning.

During the actual MRI scan, you will be doing 3 tasks that will take about 15-20 minutes each. You will be in the scanner for approximately 1.5 hours. You will be able to speak with the MR technologist at any time during the study. Remember, you are volunteering and may choose to stop participating at any time.

Total time: 5 hours (across 2 days)
Day 1: 2 hours for practice and simulation
Day 2: 1.5 hours for screening and debriefing, and an additional 1.5 hours doing tasks in the MRI scanner

PAYMENT: Participants are paid about $15 an hour for participation.
Practice Session: $30; MRI Session: $45; Total payment: $75
Bonus for staying still: $10 for two tasks, $15 for all three.
Total with bonus: $90

NOTE: We do not give credit for psychology classes


-If you have metal in your body from surgery, or have worked with metal that may have  resulted in metal shavings in your eye, you can not participate (EVEN IF THE FRAGMENTS  HAVE BEEN EXTRACTED).
-If you are pregnant. (If there is a possibility that you are pregnant, you will be given a  pregnancy test at no cost.)
-If you are claustrophobic.
-If you have any body piercing or jewelry that cannot be removed.
-If you have permanent metal retainers or braces (fillings are fine).
-If you have had a serious head injury.
-If you have learned English after the age of 5. (If you are unsure about this  requirement, please email and ask any questions you have.)
-If you are under 18 years of age or over 35 years of age.
-If you weigh 250 pounds or more.
-If you are currently taking any medication for psychiatric disorders.
-If you have a current diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder.

If you have any comments or questions or are interested in participating please feel free to e-mail me at

The Practice Session
A day or two before the actual MRI session, the participant is asked to come in for a mandatory 2 hour practice session. The participant will fill out consent forms and complete approximately 3-4 paper and pencil tests as well as 3-4 computer experiments. They will be given a brief description of what will take place the day of the MRI session, and any questions they have will be answered.

About Your MRI Session
When a participant comes for an MRI session at the Scientific Imaging and Brain Research (SIBR) Center, the first thing s/he will do is undergo a screening with the MR technologist. The participant will then need to remove all metal objects (including watches, jewelry, and credit cards) from their person and place them in a secure locker before entering the MRI room. In the scanner room, the participant is fitted with earplugs or headphones before laying down on the MRI bed. After the technician makes sure that the participant is comfortable, s/he is moved further into the bore of the MRI machine. The session will begin with 3-4 functional scans lasting approximately 15-25 minutes each, during which time we will acquire data on brain activation. During the functional scans, participants look and listen to various stimuli and respond to them using response buttons and other devices (such as a joystick). This may be followed by a 5-15 minute structural scan to acquire anatomical pictures of the participant's brain. For the duration of the fMRI session, which lasts approximately 1.5 hours, the participant must lie completely still in order to obtain clear pictures from the MRI. After all the scans are complete, the participant is taken out of the MRI scanner and is debriefed. Any questions the participant has will be answered at this time and the participant will be paid.