The Scientists Who Pioneered Psychology-Centered fMRI Centers

The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in scientific research began in earnest in the 1990s but was largely housed in radiology departments. But a few psychological scientists played leading and integral roles in establishing a model – now common – where imaging centers can be housed outside of medical centers for multidisciplinary research. These labs advanced the use of fMRI for research on cognition, behavior, clinical disorders, and more.

  • APS Fellow Jonathan Cohen, a cognitive neuroscientist, was named director of Princeton’s Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior when it was founded in 2000 and was responsible for acquiring the center’s fMRI scanner. He is now co-director, along with molecular biologist David Tank, of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Cohen, who studies neurobiological mechanisms involved in cognitive control — and their disturbance in psychiatric disorders — was a national leader in ramping up the use of fMRI in research. He will receive the APS William James Fellow Award at the 30th APS Annual Convention in 2018.
  • APS Fellow Gregory A. Miller served as Founding Director of the Biomedical Imaging Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Beckman Institute from 2001-2004, and was named again as its head in 2010. Miller’s research focuses on executive function, emotional dysregulation processes, and development of multimodal neuroimaging methods. He now chairs the psychology department at the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • APS William James Fellow John Jonides co-led the founding of the University of Michigan’s interdepartmental Functional MRI Laboratory when it was founded in 2001. He serves as the lab’s co-director with biomedical engineer Douglas C. Noll. Jonides focuses his research on behavioral and brain mechanisms of cognitive control, as well as the dysfunction of these mechanisms in various pathologies.