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Psychophysiology. 2003 May;40(3):436-54.

Functional transcranial Doppler sonography as a tool in psychophysiological research.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Munich, Munich, Germany.


Functional transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD) allows the noninvasive and uncomplicated registration of intracranial blood flow parameters under defined conditions of stimulation. Although local distribution patterns of regional blood perfusion can be measured with high spatial resolution through neuroimaging methods (e.g., PET or SPECT), these methods are limited by their low temporal resolution. The high temporal resolution provided by fTCD, however, allows the recording of the dynamic component of cerebral blood perfusion by continuously measuring the cerebral blood flow velocity in the basal cerebral arteries. Hence, this method is especially appropriate for the investigation of fast neuronal activation processes, which are generally accompanied by changes in local blood perfusion. In this review, we present methodical issues regarding fTCD, as well its application in the field of psychology, especially psychophysiology. The relevant studies available to date investigate processes of attention and perception, higher cognitive functions, and emotional and psychomotor processes. Considering the current state of methodology and research, fTCD can be seen to be an important complement to the other psychophysiological methods for studying brain function.

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