Inside an fMRI machine.

The state of the universe.
Jan. 10 2006 3:51 PM

My Brain Is a Walnut

Inside an fMRI machine.

(Continued from Page 1)

The tasks aren't overly difficult, but the faces grow tiresome to watch. After 300 of them in 40 minutes, my eyes feel heavy. Egner's voice bursts through the intercom. "Are we falling asleep?" he asks. I wonder if he knows this from watching my brain or from experience with other research subjects. The lights go on and Egner helps me out of the machine. The noise settles back into the steady and much softer zeeew-kip.

When I leave the room, I'm unsettled to find four researchers behind the control-room glass. I'd thought I was alone, but people I don't know have been watching my mind at work, perhaps remarking on its effectiveness. A few minutes later, Egner hands me a flimsy sheet, like an X-ray, with a birds-eye view of 20 horizontal layers of my brain. Functional images don't come the way they're shown in magazines and journals, with reds and yellows splattered across the brain to show where the most neural activity occurred. The colors are added later by the researchers. In this starker rendering, my brain looks like a walnut in its shell. I ask Egner how I did. He explains to me that individual results can't be interpreted. "As for your function," he said, "there's not much to look at." If the choice is between that and gross abnormality, I guess I'll take it.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.