Review Article | Published:

What we can do and what we cannot do with fMRI

Nature volume 453, pages 869878 (12 June 2008) | Download Citation

Abstract

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is currently the mainstay of neuroimaging in cognitive neuroscience. Advances in scanner technology, image acquisition protocols, experimental design, and analysis methods promise to push forward fMRI from mere cartography to the true study of brain organization. However, fundamental questions concerning the interpretation of fMRI data abound, as the conclusions drawn often ignore the actual limitations of the methodology. Here I give an overview of the current state of fMRI, and draw on neuroimaging and physiological data to present the current understanding of the haemodynamic signals and the constraints they impose on neuroimaging data interpretation.

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Acknowledgements

I thank my co-workers A. Bartels, J. Goense, M. Munk and A.-C. Zappe for discussions; my colleagues P. Hoffmann, C. Koch, K. Martin, A. Schüz, C. Kayser and R. Turner for their insightful comments and suggestions on the latest version of the article; J. Goense, B. Weber and A. L. Keller for providing graphics; and D. Blaurock for language corrections. The work is supported by the Max Planck Society.

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  1. Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany, and Imaging Science and Biomedical Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

    • Nikos K. Logothetis

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Correspondence to Nikos K. Logothetis.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06976

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