EEG vs MRI: Difference and Comparison

Medical science has taken off its journey to a very extended path and, with all its equipment, has opened doors we did not even know existed.

Even though we take advantage of all the advanced medical science, we do not always know the difference between different devices. EEG and MRI are devices whose functions might sometimes confuse us at times.

Key Takeaways

  1. Electroencephalography (EEG) records electrical activity in the brain using electrodes, while Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) generates detailed brain images through powerful magnetic fields and radio waves.
  2. EEG offers real-time data and high temporal resolution, making it ideal for studying brain function, whereas MRI provides high spatial resolution for examining brain structure.
  3. EEG is non-invasive, portable, and more affordable than MRI, requiring specialized equipment and facilities.


EEG is a scanning of the brain that involves metal discs and electrodes. It analyzes the electrical activity of the brain to diagnose different neurological conditions. The term MRI refers to a method of taking an image of the brain using a machine to visualize its structure and diagnose disease.


Electroencephalography, or EEG, was built to evaluate the brain’s electrical activities. It is done by placing electrodes on our scalp.


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It can tell us how much active the brain is. It is useful for a person who is suffering from epilepsy.

MRI offers an image of the brain. It is like a map. By using this map, doctors can observe unusual activities that might take place in the brain, for instance, tumours. MRI scanner is also very complicated to operate.

It requires a highly trained professional.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonEEGMRI
Full form EEG means electroencephalography. MRI means Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
ObjectiveEEG is used to analyse brain wave functioning.MRI scanners create an image of the brain.
Process of workEEG uses electrical impulses that are exclusively generated by the neurons to analyse brain functions.MRI creates an image of the brain by using magnetic fields and radio waves.
Used materialEEG is made with electrical impulses to get made.MRI is made with magnetic fields and radio waves.
CostEEG is not as expensive as an MRI machine, and it is accessible to many researchers and research centres. MRI devices are very expensive, they can be afforded only with huge amounts of funds.
PortabilityEEG is a portable device. It has two options, fully portable as well as semi-portable. MRI devices are not portable at all.
Expertise One can use the EEG machine with a bit of basic training.To use an MRI machine, one needs to have extensive training beforehand.

What is EEG?

EEG is short for electroencephalography. This is a special machine. It utilises neuron-generated electrical impulses to narrate the activity and functions of the brain. The process of using this device is rather easy.

This machine is attached to the scalp in order to get used. In this process, the machine successfully records the brain’s electrical impulses.

Our neurons produce electrical stimuli, and this device records those. Experts can observe abnormalities by examining the records.

If the condition is suspected, the doctors can take necessary measures. It is an ideal machine to detect epilepsy. In epilepsy, the waves the brain produce in EEG test are very sharp and in spikes.

EEG machines are quite affordable, and it produces results promptly. It is also not very complicated to use. One can use it effortlessly after a few training sessions. It also has the facility of being portable.

This machine comes as fully portable and semi-portable.


What is MRI?

MRI gives us a static, anatomical image of the brain. Through this image, we can see if there is anything abnormal happening. MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses magnets.

The objective of MRI is to use a magnetic field in the body to generate an image. It is often used to detect tumours in the brain.

This advanced diagnostic methodology operates with magnets and radio waves. Not only the brain but any other Internal body part can be subjected to visualise in this process.

MRI machines are very costly, and their maintenance also costs a fortune. This is why it can only be affordable with huge funding behind it.

To use this scanner skillfully, one has to be a professional. One needs to achieve in-depth training and be an expert in using it.


Main Differences Between EEG and MRI

  1. EEG is electroencephalography, and the full form of MRI is Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
  2. EEG analyse brain wave functions, whereas MRI scanners generate an image of the brain.
  3. EEG can measure brain activity directly, but MRI can only provide the brain’s structure. But its spatial resolution is higher.
  4. EEG uses electrical impulses to perform its functions, but MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to perform its purpose.
  5. EEG machines can be shifted as they are portable. They have two portability options, one is fully portable, and the other is semi-portable. On the other hand, MRI scanners are not at all portable.
  6. EEG machines cost less than MRI scanners. Centres need substantial funds in order to afford an MRI scanner.
  7. One can learn to operate EEG after a few training sessions. But a fully trained person is needed to operate an MRI scanner as it is not very easy to run.
Difference Between EEG and MRI
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