A Functional MRI (fMRI) study showing neuroanatomical correlates of medical image interpretation and effects of art instruction on visuo-spatial skills in medical education

Elliot Dickerson, Caryn Babaian, Kim Curby, Beverley Hershey, Scott H. Faro, Feroze B. Mohamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Art instruction is often viewed as an important adjunct to conventional medical education. Over half of U.S. medical schools offer required or elective courses in art. Some have questioned the efficacy of this instruction. The purpose of this study was to determine whether fine art instruction improved research subjects’ ability to discriminate pathologies in radiographs. To achieve this goal, the subjects’ brain activity was documented while reading radiographs prior to fine art instruction and again after fine art instruction. Pre-art-instruction brain activity and corresponding changes in brain activity after fine art instruction were both determined by functional MRI (fMRI) scans. The art instruction consisted of a five-week course utilizing the scientific treaties of Leonardo DaVinci. To our knowledge, this is the first fMRI study to describe the functional activation associated with a medical image interpretation task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
JournalHAPS EDucator
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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