What we can and cannot do with fMRI

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany, and Imaging Science and Biomedical Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK.
Nature (Impact Factor: 41.46). 06/2008; 453(7197):869-878. DOI: 10.1038/nature06976
Source: PubMed


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is currently the mainstay of neuroimaging in cognitive neuroscience. Advances in scanner technology, image acquisition protocols, experimental design, and analysis methods promise to push forward fMRI from mere cartography to the true study of brain organization. However, fundamental questions concerning the interpretation of fMRI data abound, as the conclusions drawn often ignore the actual limitations of the methodology. Here I give an overview of the current state of fMRI, and draw on neuroimaging and physiological data to present the current understanding of the haemodynamic signals and the constraints they impose on neuroimaging data interpretation.

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