Despite its inherent potential, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has not been fully integrated into clinical cognitive assessments yet. This research project seeks to bridge this gap by developing an fMRI-based neurocognitive assessment. A notable innovation of this project is the integration of eye-tracking technology with fMRI, which is anticipated to reduce artifacts caused by button presses, thus potentially enhancing the quality of fMRI data.
In line with the project proposal, a set of cognitive tests optimized for eye-tracking fMRI has already been developed. The forthcoming phase, contingent on funding, aims to record participants' gaze behavior alongside their brain activity as they passively watch videos within the MRI scanner. This step is crucial for refining the cognitive tests and establishing standardized protocols for data collection. In a subsequent phase, subject to the success of the previous stages, participants will engage with these refined and optimized eye-tracking-fMRI cognitive tests within the MRI scanner.
The overarching goal of this research is to develop a reliable tool for effectively monitoring cognition in a variety of neurocognitive disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease. Success in this endeavor could lead to the creation of the first fMRI-based neurocognitive assessment battery, significantly improving the accuracy of clinical diagnoses and prognoses.