Core communication research questions are increasingly being investigated using brain imaging techniques. A majority of these studies apply a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) approach. This trend raises two important questions that we address in this article. First, under what conditions can fMRI methodology increase knowledge and refine communication theory? Second, how can editors, reviewers, and readers of communication journals discriminate sound and relevant fMRI research from unsound or irrelevant fMRI research? To address these questions, we first discuss what can and cannot be accomplished with fMRI. Subsequently, we provide a pragmatic introduction to fMRI data collection and analysis for social-science-oriented communication scholars. We include practical guidelines and a checklist for reporting and evaluating fMRI studies.
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