Article

A critique of functional localisers

The Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, UCL, 12 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 06/2006; 30(4):1077-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.08.012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In this critique, we review the usefulness of functional localising scans in functional MRI studies. We consider their conceptual motivations and the implications for experimental design and inference. Functional localisers can often be viewed as acquiring data from cells that have been removed from an implicit factorial design. This perspective reveals their potentially restrictive nature. We deconstruct two examples from the recent literature to highlight the key issues. We conclude that localiser scans can be unnecessary and, in some instances, lead to a biased and inappropriately constrained characterisation of functional anatomy.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Pia Rotshtein, Jul 06, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
137 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is a common saying for expressing familiarity with something. It refers to our hands, and strangely enough, in English, one says to know something like the back of the hand, whereas in other cultures, for example, Italy, Spain and France, the same expression is with the palm. Previous behavioural data have suggested that our ability to visually discriminate a right from a left hand is influenced by perspective. This behavioural finding has remained without neurophysiological counterparts. We used an implicit motor imagery task in which 30 right-handed subjects were asked to decide whether a picture portrayed a right rather than a left hand during an fMRI event-related experiment. Both views (back and palm) were used, and the hands were rotated by 45° in 8 possible angles. We replicated previous behavioural evidence by showing faster reaction times for the back-view and view-specific interaction effects with the angle of rotation: for the back view, the longest RTs were with the hand facing down at 180°; for the palm view, the longest RTs were at 90° with the hand pointing away from the midline. In addition, the RTs were particularly faster for back views of the right hand. fMRI measurements revealed a stronger BOLD signal increase in left premotor and parietal cortices for stimuli viewed from the palm, whereas back-view stimuli were associated with stronger occipital activations, suggesting a view-specific cognitive strategy: more visually oriented for the back of the hand; more in need of the support of a motoric imagery process for the palms. Right-hand back views were associated with comparatively smaller BOLD responses, attesting, together with the faster reaction times, to the lesser need for neural labour because of greater familiarity with that view of the hand. These differences suggest the existence of brain-encoded, view-dependent representations of body segments.
    Experimental Brain Research 08/2014; 232(12). DOI:10.1007/s00221-014-4065-z
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Theories of object-based attention often make two assumptions: that attentional resources are facilitatory, and that they spread automatically within grouped objects. Consistent with this, ignored visual stimuli can be easier to process, or more distracting, when perceptually grouped with an attended target stimulus. But in past studies, the ignored stimuli often shared potentially relevant features or locations with the target. In this fMRI study, we measured the effects of attention and grouping on Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) responses in the human brain to entirely task-irrelevant events. Two checkerboards were displayed each in opposite hemifields, while participants responded to check-size changes in one pre-cued hemifield, which varied between blocks. Grouping (or segmentation) between hemifields was manipulated between blocks, using common (vs. distinct) motion cues. Task-irrelevant transient events were introduced by randomly changing the color of either checkerboard, attended or ignored, at unpredictable intervals. The above assumptions predict heightened BOLD signals for irrelevant events in attended vs. ignored hemifields for ungrouped contexts, but less such attentional modulation under grouping, due to automatic spreading of facilitation across hemifields. We found the opposite pattern, in primary visual cortex. For ungrouped stimuli, BOLD signals associated with task-irrelevant changes were lower, not higher, in the attended vs. ignored hemifield; furthermore, attentional modulation was not reduced but actually inverted under grouping, with higher signals for events in the attended vs. ignored hemifield. These results challenge two popular assumptions underlying object-based attention. We consider a broader biased-competition framework: task-irrelevant stimuli are suppressed according to how strongly they compete with task-relevant stimuli, with intensified competition when the irrelevant features or locations comprise the same object.
    Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:12. DOI:10.3389/fnint.2014.00012
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Functional connectomes capture brain interactions via synchronized fluctuations in the functional magnetic resonance imaging signal. If measured during rest, they map the intrinsic functional architecture of the brain. With task-driven experiments they represent integration mechanisms between specialized brain areas. Analyzing their variability across subjects and conditions can reveal markers of brain pathologies and mechanisms underlying cognition. Methods of estimating functional connectomes from the imaging signal have undergone rapid developments and the literature is full of diverse strategies for comparing them. This review aims to clarify links across functional-connectivity methods as well as to expose different steps to perform a group study of functional connectomes.
    NeuroImage 04/2013; 80. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.04.007