Ohio Portrait no. 75
If you work with or around psychologists long enough, you’ll be asked to hop into an fMRI. Studies need participants, particularly ones that can show up on time, agree to take out all their piercings, stay awake, and keep their heads absolutely still.
Running one person through an fMRI costs approximately 10,000 dollars. Even a centimeter of movement can completely ruin the data. The fMRI is a claustrophobic, churning passage like a loud, clicking washing machine. The sounds make many people fall asleep. That ruins the data too.
I’ve done a few. I’ve filled my facial piercings with plastic and taken my bra off (no metal allowed, including underwires) and lied down to stare up at a computer screen with a keyboard perched on my chest. It’s illegal to give participants any personal medical information, but if you know the psychologists doing the research, you get to keep a picture of your brain.
One girl in the department went through the fMRI and found that she was missing huge sections of her frontal lobe. Specifically, parts dealing with social interaction. She was 20 years old and externally healthy; she had no idea.
"Well," one of the researchers whispered, "She was always an odd duck."