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A Short Guide to Brain ImagingThe Neuroscience of Human Cognition$
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Richard E. Passingham and James B. Rowe

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198709138

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709138.001.0001

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Experimental methods

Experimental methods

(p.33) Chapter 3 Experimental methods
A Short Guide to Brain Imaging

Richard E. Passingham

James B. Rowe

Oxford University Press

Having recorded a signal, it is necessary to interpret its functional significance. The way in which this is done is to relate the signal to a psychological condition. As in other branches of science, an experimental condition is contrasted with a control condition. The interpretation is clearest when these differ in just one respect, though this can be difficult to achieve. Standard statistics are used to evaluate the significance of the difference. However, the analysis of imaging data can be onerous and many methods have been developed to avoid false-positive and false-negative results. These include robust correction for the number of statistical comparisons that are made, as the image is made up of thousands of voxels across many regions. Researchers also use targeted region-of-interest analysis; in this case the region must be specified beforehand. One must also study enough subjects: if small groups are used, the study may be underpowered.

Keywords:   control conditions, subtraction technique, false positive, false negative, type I error, type II error, replication, number of subjects

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