Combining spatial extent and peak intensity to test for activations in functional imaging

Neuroimage. 1997 Feb;5(2):83-96. doi: 10.1006/nimg.1996.0248.


Within the framework of statistical mapping, there are up to now only two tests used to assess the regional significance in functional images. One is based on the magnitude of the foci and tends to detect high intensity signals, while the second is based on the spatial extent of regions defined by a simple thresholding of the statistical map, a test that is more sensitive to extended signals. The aim of this paper is to combine the two tests into a single test that is more sensitive to a wider range of signals. This combined test is based on an analytical approximation of the distribution of these two parameters (size and height) and is applied in the context of statistical maps. The risk of error in noise-only 2D or 3D volumes is assessed under a wide range of experimental conditions obtained by varying both the resolution of the map and the threshold at which clusters are defined. In addition, we have investigated this new test on simulated signals, and applied it to an experimental PET dataset. The experimental risk of error is close to the predicted one, and the overall sensitivity increases when analyzing a volume containing different types of signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mathematical Computing
  • Middle Aged
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Normal Distribution
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / statistics & numerical data*
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology