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Assumptions and Validations of Statistical Tests for Functional Neuroimaging

Authors

  • P. E. Roland,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Human Brain Research, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Doktorsringen 12, S-I71 77, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • B. Gulyas

    1. Division of Human Brain Research, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Doktorsringen 12, S-I71 77, Stockholm, Sweden
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P. E. Roland, as above.

Abstract

We contrast two statistical methods: three-dimensional cluster analysis and statistical parametric mapping. We show that three-dimensional cluster analysis is based on a neurobiological theory of the regulation of blood flow and, unlike statistical parametric mapping, carries a minimum of assumptions that are tested. Statistical parametric mapping is a formal approach, which is based on a multitude of assumptions of which the majority have not been validated. We also demonstrate that in practice three-dimensional cluster analysis has a reasonable balance between sensitivity and the probability of false positives, giving high reproducibility with data on e.g. colour discrimination.

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