Transferring cognitive tasks between brain imaging modalities: implications for task design and results interpretation in fMRI studies

Tracy Warbrick, Martina Reske, N. Jon Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

Abstract

As cognitive neuroscience methods develop, established experimental tasks are used with emerging brain imaging modalities. Here transferring a paradigm (the visual oddball task) with a long history of behavioral and electroencephalography (EEG) experiments to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment is considered. The aims of this paper are to briefly describe fMRI and when its use is appropriate in cognitive neuroscience; illustrate how task design can influence the results of an fMRI experiment, particularly when that task is borrowed from another imaging modality; explain the practical aspects of performing an fMRI experiment. It is demonstrated that manipulating the task demands in the visual oddball task results in different patterns of blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) activation. The nature of the fMRI BOLD measure means that many brain regions are found to be active in a particular task. Determining the functions of these areas of activation is very much dependent on task design and analysis. The complex nature of many fMRI tasks means that the details of the task and its requirements need careful consideration when interpreting data. The data show that this is particularly important in those tasks relying on a motor response as well as cognitive elements and that covertand overt responses should be considered where possible. Furthermore, the data show that transferring an EEG paradigm to an fMRI experiment needs careful consideration and it cannot be assumed that the same paradigm will work equally well across imaging modalities. It is therefore recommended that the design of an fMRI study is pilot tested behaviorally to establish the effects of interest and then pilot tested in the fMRI environment to ensure appropriate design, implementation and analysis for the effects of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere51793
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Volume2014
Issue number91
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Data interpretation
  • FMRI
  • Issue 91
  • Target detection
  • Task design
  • Visual oddball task

Cite this