Introduced is a general framework for performing group-level analyses of fMRI data using any basis set of two functions (i.e., the canonical hemodynamic response function and its first derivative) to model the hemodynamic response to neural activity. The approach allows for flexible implementation of physiologically based restrictions on the results. Information from both basis functions is used at the group level and the limitations avoid physiologically ambiguous or implausible results. This allows for investigation of specific BOLD activity such as hemodynamic responses peaking within a specified temporal range (i.e., 4-5 s). The general nature of the presented approach allows for applications using basis sets specifically designed to investigate various physiologic phenomena, i.e., age-related variability in poststimulus undershoot, hemodynamic responses measured with cerebral blood flow imaging, or subject-specific basis sets. An example using data from a group of healthy young participants demonstrates the methods and the specific steps to study poststimulus variability are discussed. The approach is completely implemented within the general linear model and requires minimal programmatic calculations.
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