General information

You may have been asked to participate in one of our studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. What you will be asked to do will depend on the study, but most studies have some common aspects. For example, you will probably be asked to provide some background information about yourself, and to complete some standard questionnaires. We may also conduct a brief interview with you, asking about some of the experiences you have had over the last few weeks. In some studies, you will complete some simple tasks or games on a computer. Many of our studies also involve having an MRI scan: you can find more information about this below. All research in the NHS is looked at by an independent Research Ethics Committee to protect your safety, rights, wellbeing and dignity by making sure the study is safe and will not harm you. Access to your data will only be done by those directly involved in the project and all your information will remain strictly confidential.

What is an MRI scanner?

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner is a standard medical tool for measuring brain activity. While you are in the MRI scanner, you will complete some simple computer tasks which you will practice in a normal room beforehand.

An MRI scan takes pictures of the brain. The scanner uses a large magnet, which reads signals coming from your brain and with that it measures the activity in your brain. This method is very safe and does not hurt or change anything about you. 

This magnet does however pull at certain metallic things. You cannot have a scan if you have ever had metal in your eyes, or had metallic objects like clips put into your body in an operation, or if you have ever received a gun injury, or if you have ever had a heart pacemaker. You cannot take anything magnetic into the scanning room. There are lockers provided so that you can safely store any coins, keys, watches and magnetised cards that you have brought with you.

Before going into the scanner we will carefully check to make sure it is safe for you. Some people feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic in the scanner as space is limited, therefore you should inform us beforehand if you are concerned about being placed in a confined space. There is a microphone inside the scanner so that you can talk to us in between the scans. You can also press an emergency button at any time if you want to get out of the scanner. If you do feel uncomfortable just let the people at the scanner know and we will end the session.

Because we want your pictures to be very good we need you to lie as still as you can in the scanning machine. The scanner is very noisy and makes loud banging noises. However, we will give you headphones so that the noise is not too loud.

Each scan is carried out by experienced scanning specialists or radiographers who are used to operating the scanner and they are there to make sure you are okay. There is nothing special you need to do before or after the scan and you can eat and drink as normal. A radiographer will go through what a scan involves with you before you go in.

Find us


Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience
King's College London
16 De Crespigny Park
London SE5 8AF
Telephone: 020 7848 0002

Public transport

Mainline rail & London Overground

Denmark Hill railway station is next to the IoPPN campus and is served by rail services from London Victoria, London Blackfriars and Elephant and Castle; and London Overground services between Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction. Loughborough Junction railway station (a 15-minute walk from the campus) is served by Thameslink trains from London Blackfriars via Elephant and Castle.

London Underground

The nearest London Underground stations are Oval (Northern line) and Elephant and Castle (Northern and Bakerloo lines). From both of these stations you can travel by bus to complete your journey.


  • King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill: 40, 68176185468, 484
  • Camberwell Green (a 10-minute walk from the campus): 1235364245345171
  • Coldharbour Lane (a five-minute walk from the campus): 3545345

Click to enlarge. We are located at the IOP main building. MRI scans take place at the Centre for Neuroimaging Science (CNS)