Activation network mapping for integration of heterogeneous fMRI findings

Nat Hum Behav. 2022 Oct;6(10):1417-1429. doi: 10.1038/s41562-022-01371-1. Epub 2022 Jun 2.


Functional neuroimaging techniques have been widely used to probe the neural substrates of facial emotion processing in healthy people. However, findings are largely inconsistent across studies. Here, we introduce a new technique termed activation network mapping to examine whether heterogeneous functional magnetic resonance imaging findings localize to a common network for emotion processing. First, using the existing method of activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis, we showed that individual-brain-based reproducibility was low across studies. Second, using activation network mapping, we found that network-based reproducibility across these same studies was higher. Validation analysis indicated that the activation network mapping-localized network aligned with stimulation sites, structural abnormalities and brain lesions that disrupt facial emotion processing. Finally, we verified the generality of the activation network mapping technique by applying it to another cognitive process, that is, rumination. Activation network mapping may potentially be broadly applicable to localize brain networks of cognitive functions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Mapping* / methods
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Neuroimaging / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results