Under the mind's hood: What we have learned by watching the brain at work

Anna Christina Nobre*, Freek van Ede

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Imagine you were asked to investigate the workings of an engine, but to do so without ever opening the hood. Now imagine the engine fueled the human mind. This is the challenge faced by cognitive neuroscientists worldwide aiming to understand the neural bases of our psychological functions. Luckily, human ingenuity comes to the rescue. Around the same time as the Society for Neuroscience was being established in the 1960s, the first tools for measuring the human brain at work were becoming available. Noninvasive human brain imaging and neurophysiology have continued developing at a relentless pace ever since. In this 50 year anniversary, we reflect on how these methods have been changing our understanding of how brain supports mind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Electroencephalograhy (EEG)
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
  • Historical overview
  • Human brain imaging
  • Human neurophysiology
  • Selective attention


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