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: 6.36). 06/2006; 30(4):1077-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.08.012
Source: PubMed


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.

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