The current studies being performed by the Barnard Toddler Center (BTC) group involve the use of a powerful new tool in psychological research: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or fMRI.
The use of an fMRI machine allows researchers to take a variety of images of cerebral activity by measuring changes in blood flow to different regions of the brain. As different brain structures are engaged by tasks, more blood is directed to those areas to facilitate increased performance. These changes can be clearly seen in the fMRI images, allowing researchers to make inferences about the role that different brain structures play in executing cognitive processes.
In order to prompt different brain regions to activate and engage with the material, our subjects are given a variety of cognitive tasks to perform while in the fMRI scanner. Our team tracks the resulting changes in activity. We hope to gain more information about the physical structures that underlie the cognitive processes involved in self-regulation. These findings may lead to a more cohesive understanding of how the brain functions, as well as lead to a better understanding of how to effectively use and increase one's ability to self-regulate effectively.