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“In the fMRI Lab” Essay (Article)

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2020

If the brain activities, such as, memory, happiness, sadness can be recorded while analyzing the physiological changes in the brain, what is left of the body when engaging in our social cultural world? We think by engaging our brain with our hands, and with our interactions with people and the environment (Morana 22). When addressing these issues, we particularly focus on the scientific field under scrutiny of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) lab.

This discussion provided in this paper is focused on the role that multimodal interaction plays in fMRI brain imaging. fMRI is a modern technology which has medical and scientific purposes. The anatomic structure of the internal body parts, such as brain for example, is provided by MRI, it makes use of radio frequency and computers in order to create “visuals”.

These visuals are based on varying water molecules in the bodily environment. Therefore, the role of these fMRI visuals is to display the degree of the activities of the brain. Human brain mapping has been presented by the MRI with a new dimension in the provision of biochemical and physiologic information (Morana 1).

The degree of the activities of the brain is measured with the help of fMRI visuals. The visuals indicate the activity of the most active parts of the brain during the performance of the tasks. An extensive analysis of the laboratory was required to show the results of the fMRI visuals. Experiential and semiotic bodies of the fMRI researchers interact between each other and the technology.

When engaging in cognitive neuroscience, they listen, touch computers, talk, gestures and interact using their torso, hands and necks. Scientific visuals has been used to illustrate how scientist work, and the understanding of how scientific data has been used in interactional events. To communicate with each other and machines, they gesture over screens.

The focal point of turning experimental material relies on multimodal involvement with the digital matter to make it understandable and visible. Scientific practice is rooted in the body, as illustrated in the participation of the hands in multimodal and semiotic interaction. The orders of laboratory have been distinguished by Michael Lynch “space”, digitality and opticism, he points out that opticism is not displaced by digitality (Morana 6).

In the age of computers, cognitive neuroscientists accomplish their work by gesturing, gazing and talking. An active mind, in terms of brain, cannot be understood, unless the body experiences and the social-cultural world are taken into account. The thinking of scientists in a fMRI lab is brought together by semiotic bodies and digital screen.

The internal working of the individuals’ mind is implied by a fMRI technology, where the model of the mind and embodiment are confined. Scientific instruments and information technologies, as being focused on developing and as feminist scholars showed, are self contained biological objects that are irreversibly disrupted in mathematically caused laws.

Occurrences of multimodal semiotic modalities were annotated. This is because of the interest in the semiotic and “non-symbolic practical instruments routine of hands” (Morana 11). The aim was not to describe any semiotic means, but to capture the coordination of multimodal semiotic means (Morana 12).

The importance of embodied aspect of scientific work has been examined by proponents of laboratory studies, they have pointed out the centrality of the shared knowledge that scientist and ethnographers have. This is the case with scholars who base their approach on Phenomological and Ethnomathology. The remaining unanswered question is: In what real time the use of visuals is to be used by scientists?

Work Cited

Morana, Alač. “In the fMRI Laboratory”, Handling Digital Brains: A Laboratory Study of Multimodal Semiotic Interaction in the Age of Computers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002. pp. 1-22. Print.

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