Demonculus: Image of a Postmortem Brainstem



This spooky, face-like image is from an MRI scan of a post mortem human brainstem and thalamus. I am investigating the human auditory system, particularly the subcortical components below the cerebral cortex. This system is difficult to study in normal human participants, in part because MRI isn’t high enough quality when we only have an hour or two to collect the MRI scan. Imaging a post mortem brain allows us to get much better resolution and image quality than we can get from a standard MRI with a living, breathing participant. Thus, we get much finer detail in a scan of a post mortem brain, meaning we can see brain structures and connectivity fibers much more clearly—some of which look like an illusory humanoid face!