The neuroimaging research process from the participants' perspective

Richard Cooke*, Elizabeth Peel, Rachel L. Shaw, Carl Senior

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to investigate participants' experiences of taking part in research conducted using fMRI or MEG procedures. Forty-four participants completed a questionnaire after taking part in either fMRI or MEG experiments; the questionnaire asked about experiences of and attitudes toward fMRI/MEG. Ten follow-up interviews were conducted to enable an in-depth analysis of these attitudes and experiences. The findings were generally positive: all participants thought fMRI and MEG were safe procedures, 93% would recommend participating in neuroimaging research to their friends and family, and participants were positive about participating in future neuroimaging research. However, some negative issues were identified. Some participants reported feeling nervous prior to scanning procedures, several participants reported side-effects after taking part, a number of participants were upset at being in a confined space and some participants did not feel confident about exiting the scanner in an emergency. Several recommendations for researchers are made, including a virtual tour of the scanning equipment during the consenting process in order to better prepare potential participants for the scanning experience and to minimize the potential psychological discomfort sometimes experienced in neuroimaging research. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-158
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Psychophysiology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Cooke, Richard; Peel, Elizabeth A.; Shaw, Rachel L. and Senior, Carl (2007). The neuroimaging research process from the participants' perspective. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 63 (2), pp. 152-158. DOI 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2006.03.014


  • consent
  • fMRI
  • interviews
  • MEG
  • perceptions
  • questionnaires
  • screening
  • side-effects


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