The sounds and noises that a typical MRI scanner produces are problematic for several reasons:

  • they give - annoying as they are - a strong feel of uncomfortableness to any subject or patient

  • they are quite loud, dominant, and distracting and disturb any kind of processing a task, not only auditory related tasks (but obviously these)

  • they especially strongly disturb the measurement of any subtle emotional response.

I have heard of several solutions to this problem (partly successful):

  1. physical (hardware-based) attenuation and prevention

  2. software-based attenuation or "softening"

  3. making the sounds and noises part of the experimental design, e.g. in this arcticle: The MR tomograph as a sound generator

Some overviews can be found here:

My question is:

Are there other - maybe completely different - approaches to solve the problem of sounds and noises of MRI scanners?

(I assume that not everyone would have immediately come up with the third approach!)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There was one study on mindfulness where they had participants practice meditation outside the scanner, but with simulated scanner noise. This way participants learned to deal with the scanner noise while doing the task, and so they were able to engage in meditation successfully in the scanner. If I can find the study, I'll link to it. $\endgroup$ – mrt Sep 30 '17 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ Great hint! A reference would be welcome. $\endgroup$ – Hans-Peter Stricker Sep 30 '17 at 6:31
  • $\begingroup$ @mrt: Would you mind giving me a reference? $\endgroup$ – Hans-Peter Stricker Oct 17 '17 at 14:47

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