Measuring interregional functional connectivity using coherence and partial coherence analyses of fMRI data

Neuroimage. 2004 Feb;21(2):647-58. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.09.056.


Understanding functional connectivity within the brain is crucial to understanding neural function; even the simplest cognitive operations are supported by highly distributed neural circuits. We developed a novel method to measure task-related functional interactions between neural regions by applying coherence and partial coherence analyses to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Coherence and partial coherence are spectral measures that estimate the linear time-invariant (LTI) relationship between time series. They can be used to generate maps of task-specific connectivity associated with seed regions of interest (ROIs). These maps may then be compared across tasks, revealing nodes with task-related changes of connectivity to the seed ROI. To validate the method, we applied it to an event-related fMRI data set acquired while subjects performed two sequence tapping tasks, one of which required more bimanual coordination. Areas showing increased functional connectivity with both tasks were the same as those showing increased activity. Furthermore, though there were no significant differences in mean activity between the two tasks, significant increases in interhemispheric coherence were found between the primary motor (M1) and premotor (PM) regions for the task requiring more bimanual coordination. This increase in interhemispheric connectivity is supported by other brain imaging techniques as well as patient studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Female
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mathematical Computing*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology