The "Task B problem" and other considerations in developmental functional neuroimaging

Hum Brain Mapp. 2010 Jun;31(6):852-62. doi: 10.1002/hbm.21036.


Functional neuroimaging provides a remarkable tool to allow us to study cognition across the lifespan and in special populations in a safe way. However, experimenters face a number of methodological issues, and these issues are particularly pertinent when imaging children. This brief article discusses assessing task performance, strategies for dealing with group performance differences, controlling for movement, statistical power, proper atlas registration, and data analysis strategies. In addition, there will be discussion of two other topics that have important implications for interpreting fMRI data: the question of whether functional neuroanatomical differences between adults and children are the consequence of putative developmental neurovascular differences, and the issue of interpreting negative blood oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) signal change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neuropsychological Tests