Seven healthy subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain while performing an inspection time task. Employing a block-type design, the task had three difficulty levels: a control condition, an easy (200 ms stimulus duration), and a more difficult (40 ms) discrimination. Based on group results, there were widespread significant areas of difference in brain activation and deactivation when pairwise comparisons were conducted among the three task conditions. When the difficult condition was compared with the easy condition, there was relative activation in areas of the following brain regions: cingulate gyrus and some frontal and parietal lobe areas. Areas within the following regions showed relative deactivation (greater blood oxygenation level-dependent, BOLD, signal in the easy condition): frontal, temporal, and parietal lobe. There were overlaps between these areas and those found to be active while performing higher cognitive tasks in other functional brain imaging studies. These pilot data encourage future studies of the functional anatomy of inspection time and its relevance to psychometric intelligence. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.