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  • Title: “Neuroimaging: from image to inference”.
  • Instructor: Chris Rorden : Office 227 Discovery I
  • Course Code: (Undergrad, code 29977) PSYC 589 (Grad, code 13736) PSYC 888, 3 credits. In addition, scientists are free to audit this course. Suitable for faculty, post-docs, PhD students and advanced undergraduate students.
  • When: Spring Fall 2019 Tuesdays 10:05am-12:50am, Jan 15-Apr 29 (except 12 March: Spring Break)
  • Where: Hamilton 238 
  • Syllabus
  • Course slides: PPT Powerpoint Format. also available as Google Slides.
  • License: the slides and material for this course are distributed under the Creative Commons license. Further details are in the notes section of the PowerPoint file.
  • Textbook: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging by Huettel, Song, and McCarthy.
  • Supplemental text: Handbook of Functional MRI Data Analysis by Poldrack, Mumford and Nichols.
  • Description: Functional magnetic resonance imaging is a recent and powerful tool for inferring brain function. This technique identifies brain regions that are activated by different tasks – for example we can find the brain regions that activate when someone sees a familiar face. This course is designed to give students an understanding of the potential and limitations of this technique, and the ability to critically evaluate the inferences that can be drawn from fMRI. The course describes all stages of an fMRI study – from the design of the behavioral task (e.g. asking the participant to view faces), to the image processing (e.g. correcting images for head movements that occurred during scanning), through to statistical analysis (identifying brain regions that are activated by a task).




Assessment and Assignments

The final grade is weighted 730% quizzes, 40% on homework assignments and 30% on the essay. Letter grades assigned as follows A = 90-100%, B = 80-90%, C = 70-80%, D = 60-70%, F = <60%. Graduate students (PSYC888) must also present a research article as a class presentation 45 minute. This presentation is scored as pass or fail that modifies the grade on the essay by x1.0 (pass) or x0.5 (fail), so that a perfect essay (100%) with a failed presentation (x0.5) yields a weighted score of 50%. Material from this article will be included in the quiz, so underdraduates will want to pay careful attention to this presentation. Homework description: Students will submit regular homework assignments, which are due at noon on their due date. Assignments are due in the students' dropbox folder unless otherwise specified. Essay description: Students will write an essay that describes the merits, limitations and potential of a current or potential technique used to infer brain function. Essays should extend beyond the information in the course. Examples include: ERP vs fMRI, MEG, functional connectivity, Independent Component Analysis, Adaptation Designs.


Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the basic elements of neuroimaging.
  • Understand strengths and limitations of complementary tools used in cognitive neuroscience.
  • Ability to evaluate how contemporary methods can be used to understand cognitive functions.
  • Practice software for viewing, preprocessing and statistically analyzing brain imaging data.
  • Practice writing in the form of scientific report that relates behavioral and biomedical constructs.


Attendance throughout class is required. By registering for this class you are confirming your availability during class. If you must miss a class, you should talk to the instructor ahead of time. For emergencies (flu, car trouble) it is strongly preferred that you send a text message to the instructor at the time of the class. Failure to meet the “10 percent rule” will have homework assignment scores diminished by the proportion of the absences across the term (e.g. missing 15% of classes will mean your final score reflects 85% of your homework score).



University policy regarding plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty is followed explicitly [See Carolina Community: Student Handbook and Policy Guide, Academic Responsibility]. Any case will be reported to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. A “0” score will be given on a plagiarized assignment, and may result in an “F” for the course in extreme cases.



Students who have disabilities must have certification from the Office of Disability Services and must make clear during the first week of class what accommodations they expect. Students with disabilities must complete the same exams and assignments as other students in order to get course credit.


Class Schedule Spring 2019

  1. 15 Jan
  2. 22 Jan
  3. 29 Jan
  4. 5 Feb
  5. 12 Feb
  6. 19 Feb
  7. 26 Feb
  8. 5 March
  9. No Class: 12 March Spring Break
  10. 19 March
  11. 26 March
  12. 2 Apr
  13. 9 Apr
  14. 16 Apr
  15. 23 Apr

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PDF icon Syllabus
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