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Biopsychology – Brain Imaging Techniques

1. Post-Mortem Examinations

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about post-mortem examinations, focusing in particular on: (i) post-mortem examinations as the oldest form of brain imaging; (ii) their relatively uncommon use cases, typically limited to when a person has died under suspicious circumstances and the examination is requested for forensic reasons; (iii) the role of post-mortem examinations in scientific research by investigating the brain damage suspected to be the cause of a behaviour of interest; (iv) the practical challenges in post-mortem examinations, including extracting the brain from the dura mater and changing the brain tissue texture into a manageable one using formalin; (v) the general structure of the brain including its hemispheres, the longitudinal fissure, and its wrinkled cortex; (vi) the insights into brain region functionality that post-mortem examinations can provide, highlighting the work of Paul Broca and Carl Wernicke; (vii) the importance of finding double dissociations in neuropsychological research; (viii) some key strengths and limitations of post-mortem examinations as a brain imaging technique.


In this course, Dr Gaby Pfeifer (University of Southampton) explores some of the brain imaging techniques used in psychological and neuroscientific research. In the first lecture, we think about post-mortem examinations as an early and less technologically advanced method of brain imaging. In the second lecture, we think about magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a more technologically advanced method of imaging brain structure. Next, we think about functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as an equivalent measure of brain function. In the fourth and final lecture, we think about electroencephalography as a more temporally accurate measure of brain activity.


Dr Gaby Pfeifer is a lecturer in biological psychology in the School of Psychology at the University of Southampton. Dr Pfeifer’s research interests lie in the mind-body interactions which regulate thoughts and feelings, linking biological and cognitive processes. Dr Pfeifer’s recent publications include ‘Reduced visual and frontal cortex activation during visual working memory in grapheme-colour synaesthetes relative to young and older adults’ (2019) and ‘Relationship between interoceptive sensibility, age, and COVID-19 anxiety during the first national lockdown in the United Kingdom’ (2021).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Pfeifer, G. (2022, November 07). Biopsychology – Brain Imaging Techniques - Post-Mortem Examinations [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Pfeifer, G. "Biopsychology – Brain Imaging Techniques – Post-Mortem Examinations." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Nov 2022,

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