Jonathan Simon will present an overview of the experimental technique of magnetoencephalography (MEG) and give examples of its use in investigations of questions in basic neuroscience. MEG measures the weak magnetic fields generated by tiny neural currents that pass through neurons, the fundamental building blocks of the brain. Sufficiently large numbers of these current-carrying neurons generate magnetic fields as large as a few hundred femtoTesla (fT), large enough to be measured outside the scalp, e.g., by SQUID-based sensors. Used as a neuroimaging tool, MEG has temporal resolution and accuracy orders of magnitude better than functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). Examples will be shown from investigations of the human auditory system, for which MEG has been an especially fruitful tool, especially in investigations of the "Cocktail Party Problem": understanding a single talker in a multi-talker environment.
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