Constrained energy minimization (CEM) has proven highly effective for hyperspectral (or multispectral) target detection and classification. It requires a complete knowledge of the desired target signature in images. This work presents "Unsupervised CEM (UCEM)," a novel approach to automatically target detection and classification in multispectral magnetic resonance (MR) images. The UCEM involves two processes, namely, target generation process (TGP) and CEM. The TGP is a fuzzy-set process that generates a set of potential targets from unknown information and then applies these targets to be desired targets in CEM. Finally, two sets of images, namely, computer-generated phantom images and real MR images, are used in the experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of UCEM. Experimental results demonstrate that UCEM segments a multispectral MR image much more effectively than either Functional MRI of the Brain's (FMRIB's) automated segmentation tool or fuzzy C-means does. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.