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== Rules ==
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Don't be a jerk.
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There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
  
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.)  Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.
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Please only submit material directly related to (and helping everyone better understand) xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.
  
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Latest revision as of 12:32, 12 November 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1452 xkcd comics, and only 32 (2%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

[edit] Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

fMRI
They also showed activation in the parts of the brain associated with exposure to dubious study methodology, concern about unremoved piercings, and exasperation with fMRI techs who won't stop talking about Warped Tour.
Title text: They also showed activation in the parts of the brain associated with exposure to dubious study methodology, concern about unremoved piercings, and exasperation with fMRI techs who won't stop talking about Warped Tour.

[edit] Explanation

The symptoms are direct results of the test itself. During fMRI patients hear loud noises, are confined in a box (thus the claustrophobia) and the magnetic field could rip off their jewelry if they are wearing any. The researcher has mistaken these as effects caused by performing simple tasks which the patients have been asked to do and not a direct result of the settings of the test.

fMRI (or Functional MRI) is a technique designed to show brain activity while performing tasks. Despite the elaborate name, this is, still, basically, an MRI test, i.e.: the subject is put into a relatively small cylinder inside a big, very loud, machine producing extremely strong magnetic fields.

Thus, the memory areas described by Meg are those associated with taking a functional MRI scan, rather than those associated with the "test" supposedly being carried out.

It appears that Randall makes fun of the overly confident, sweeping statements made by some fMRI researchers, often in the press. In reality the technique is still in its infancy and while large amounts data can be produced, their interpretation usually remains ambiguous. Problems include statistical analyses and the use of proper control groups. See http://bit.ly/1y7nciM for further information as well as an anecdote involving a dead salmon.

The title text continues with this theme, adding "dubious study methodology" to the list. As the test was, obviously, carried out without a proper control group to eliminate irrelevant factors, this seems appropriate.

[edit] Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.

Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

[edit] New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

[edit] Rules

Don't be a jerk.

There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to (and helping everyone better understand) xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.

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