Why is neuroimaging important?

Professor Jeff Lichtman discusses the importance of neuroimaging, which may have much less do with the brain than it has to do with humans beings' reliance on visualization.

Neuroimaging, which is a term used by scientists who are interested in seeing aspects of the way the brain works and the way the brain is structured, is extremely important for humans' understanding of the nervous system and it seems almost obvious that if you wanted to understand something you would want to see it, but it is important to realize that the reason humans are so interested in imaging the brain has much less do with the brain than it has to do with the way humans understand things. If we were mice we would probably want maps that we could map into the sound or the odor space. If we were bats we would want an odor map or a sound map, certainly, of the nervous system. We wouldn’t want a visual map because the visual system in most other animals is not nearly as good as the human visual system. Humans have a very good visual system, in fact it is our strongest analytic organ, our most powerful way of understanding the world and so if human beings can see something, we believe we can understand it, and that’s why neuroimaging is so important more related to us than to the brain. There are probably many other ways one could map out the function of the brain, but for humans it would make most sense if it were a visual map in one way or another.

neuoimaging, imaging, brain, vision, visual, jeff lichtman

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