Review

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 3, 142-151 (February 2002) | doi:10.1038/nrn730

What does fMRI tell us about neuronal activity?

David J. Heeger1 & David Ress1  About the authors

Top

In recent years, cognitive neuroscientists have taken great advantage of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a non-invasive method of measuring neuronal activity in the human brain. But what exactly does fMRI tell us? We know that its signals arise from changes in local haemodynamics that, in turn, result from alterations in neuronal activity, but exactly how neuronal activity, haemodynamics and fMRI signals are related is unclear. It has been assumed that the fMRI signal is proportional to the local average neuronal activity, but many factors can influence the relationship between the two. A clearer understanding of how neuronal activity influences the fMRI signal is needed if we are correctly to interpret functional imaging data.

Author affiliations

  1. Department of Psychology, 450 Serra Mall, Building 420, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Correspondence to: David J. Heeger1 Email: heeger@stanford.edu

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS
These links to content published by NPG are automatically generated

REFERENCE
Brain Imaging: Localization of Brain Functions
Nature Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences
Topographic Maps in the Brain
Nature Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences
See all 3 matches for Reference

NEWS AND VIEWS
From neuron to BOLD: new connections
Nature Neuroscience News and Views (01 Sep 2001)
Spikes versus BOLD: what does neuroimaging tell us about neuronal activity?
Nature Neuroscience News and Views (01 Jul 2000)
See all 8 matches for News And Views

RESEARCH
Neurophysiological investigation of the basis of the fMRI signal
Nature Article (12 Jul 2001)
See all 8 matches for Research