The interactive use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques is increasing in operating theaters. A study was performed on 17 male company volunteers to assess the neurobehavioral effects of exposure to magnetic fields from a 1.5 Tesla MRI system. The subjects' neurobehavioral performances on a neurobehavioral test battery were compared in four 1-hr sessions with and without exposure to magnetic fields, and with and without additional movements. Adverse effects were found for hand coordination (-4%, P <0.05; Pursuit Aiming II) and near visual contrast sensitivity (-16% and -15%, P <0.10; Vistech 6000™). The results from the remaining tests were inconclusive due to a strong learning effect. No additional effect from gradient fields was detected. The results indicate that working near a 1.5 Tesla MRI system may lead to neurobehavioral effects. Further research is recommended, especially in members of operating teams using interactive MRI systems. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.