How many subjects constitute a study?

Neuroimage. 1999 Jul;10(1):1-5. doi: 10.1006/nimg.1999.0439.


In fMRI there are two classes of inference: one aims to make a comment about the "typical" characteristics of a population, and the other about "average" characteristics. The first pertains to studies of normal subjects that try to identify some qualitative aspect of normal functional anatomy. The second class necessarily applies to clinical neuroscience studies that want to make an inference about quantitative differences of a regionally specific nature. The first class of inferences is adequately serviced by conjunction analyses and fixed-effects models with relatively small numbers of subjects. The second requires random-effect analyses and larger cohorts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Patient Selection
  • Research Design*