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What to Expect

Our fMRI sessions are limited to two hours in length, and must be within the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton. As an anonymous research participant, the results of your MRI will not be added to your medical records and the hospital will not create a file under your name.

If you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment, you should contact us at 605-658-6340 or as soon as possible.

The Day of the Scan

You may wear your own clothing or change into a hospital gown. If you would like to wear your own clothing, remember not to wear any shirt with metal around the head. If applicable, wear contact lenses instead of glasses. Your personal items can be locked in a storage closet during the study. You do not need to alter your dietary or mediation schedule for the MRI scan unless the experimenter requests this as part of the study.

During the Scan

fMRI is very sensitive to movement. We ask all participants to move as little as possible while in the scanner. To prevent extra head movement that may occur during the imaging process, you will be fitted with a special set of headphones designed to help you to keep your head still during the scan. You will not be able to wear your glasses during the scan, as they contain small metal screws and are not safe for the MRI scan. You may wear contacts during the scan or we can fit you with an MRI-compatible pair of glasses.


The fMRI procedure is both non-invasive and safe for most people. There are no known long-term side effects from MRI scanning when proper testing and screening procedures have been utilized. However, working in the presence of a strong magnetic field requires some precautions to ensure your safety. You cannot participate if:

  • You have a cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator
  • You have had an aneurysm or brain clip
  • You have metal within your body made from a ferromagnetic material such as iron, cobalt or nickel
  • You have non-removable body piercings
  • You are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • You are uncomfortable in small spaces or around loud noises

All participants will be asked to complete a comprehensive screening form to determine eligibility for any fMRI sessions. Additionally, a certified radiology technician will screen you at the hospital prior to your fMRI scan.

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Items Unsafe for the MRI Machine

  • Shirts or tops with metal buttons, zippers, snaps or rivets
  • Underwire bras
  • Belt buckles (pant zippers are fine)
  • Jewelry
  • Glasses
  • Any loose metal object


The MRI machine is housed within the radiology department at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton. Avera Sacred Heart

Avera Sacred Heart Hospital
501 Summit Street
Yankton, SD 57078

On the day of your scan, you may park in the Avera Sacred Heart Hospital main parking lot. Your experimenter will meet you in the large seating area inside the main entrance. As you are an anonymous research participant, you do not need to check in with registration.

EEG or Behavioral Study Participants

Where to Go

The Human Functional Imaging Core research participant waiting and testing rooms are located in the Lee Medical building on the USD main campus in Vermillion. The Lee Medical building is located near the intersection of Dakota Street and Clark Street. Rooms 140 (waiting room) and 141 (testing room) are located on the ground floor near the east entrance of the Lee Medical. These rooms are used for behavioral or EEG testing for on-campus research.


If you are a participant in a study, discuss parking with your study investigator. Your study investigator may be able to reserve a parking space for you in the Lee Medical building parking lot. This parking space is located near the west entrance near the intersection of Dakota Street and Clark Street, and has a sign labeled "Reserved Parking for CBBRe Guests." Otherwise, you will need a USD parking permit to park in the Lee Medical building parking lot, or will need to park on the street. You may park in the Lee Medical building parking lot after 5 p.m., or on weekends without a permit.