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J Neurosci Methods. 2008 Mar 30;169(1):76-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2007.11.024. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

Visual stimulus presentation using fiber optics in the MRI scanner.

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Department of Cognitive Science, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0515, USA.


Imaging the neural basis of visuomotor actions using fMRI is a topic of increasing interest in the field of cognitive neuroscience. One challenge is to present realistic three-dimensional (3-D) stimuli in the subject's peripersonal space inside the MRI scanner. The stimulus generating apparatus must be compatible with strong magnetic fields and must not interfere with image acquisition. Virtual 3-D stimuli can be generated with a stereo image pair projected onto screens or via binocular goggles. Here, we describe designs and implementations for automatically presenting physical 3-D stimuli (point-light targets) in peripersonal and near-face space using fiber optics in the MRI scanner. The feasibility of fiber-optic based displays was demonstrated in two experiments. The first presented a point-light array along a slanted surface near the body, and the second presented multiple point-light targets around the face. Stimuli were presented using phase-encoded paradigms in both experiments. The results suggest that fiber-optic based displays can be a complementary approach for visual stimulus presentation in the MRI scanner.

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