A simple but useful way to assess fMRI scan qualities

Neuroimage. 2017 Jul 1;154:150-158. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.08.009. Epub 2016 Aug 7.


This short "how to" article describes a plot I find useful for assessing fMRI data quality. I discuss the reasoning behind the plot and how it is constructed. I create the plot in scans from several publicly available datasets to illustrate different kinds of fMRI signal variance, ranging from thermal noise to motion artifacts to respiratory-related signals. I also show how the plot can be used to understand the variance removed during denoising. Code to make the plot is provided with the article, and supplemental movies show plots for hundreds of additional subjects.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01031407.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Functional Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01031407