A Primer on Pattern-Based Approaches to fMRI: Principles, Pitfalls, and Perspectives

Neuron. 2015 Jul 15;87(2):257-70. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.025.


Human fMRI signals exhibit a spatial patterning that contains detailed information about a person's mental states. Using classifiers it is possible to access this information and study brain processes at the level of individual mental representations. The precise link between fMRI signals and neural population signals still needs to be unraveled. Also, the interpretation of classification studies needs to be handled with care. Nonetheless, pattern-based analyses make it possible to investigate human representational spaces in unprecedented ways, especially when combined with computational modeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Mental Processes*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Oxygen / blood


  • Oxygen