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The Brain

Functional MRIs have enabled researchers to take a new look at the brain and see what is really happening when the brain completes tasks. Even though we can only look at relatively simple tasks, such as the reading of a small word, we still are able to see what areas of the brain are at work. We used to think that only certain areas worked on certain tasks. For example, when reading a word, we used to think that most of the processing took place in the language areas of our brains. This new application of the technology has allowed us to see how much of our brains are involved in reading a word, from the visual centers in the back of the brain, to the auditory centers near the ear, to the frontal lobes with their executive functions. When watching the fMRI image of the task, as Dr. Kurt Fisher of Harvard School of Education so eloquently said, “It is more like a symphony in the brain.” (Learning and the Brain Conference, 2013).

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