Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 115–127 | Cite as

One dataset, many conclusions: BOLD variability’s complicated relationships with age and motion artifacts

  • Benjamin O. Turner
  • Brian Lopez
  • Tyler Santander
  • Michael B. Miller
SI: Developing Brain


In recent years, the variability of the blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal has received attention as an informative measure in its own right. At the same time, there has been growing concern regarding the impact of motion in fMRI, particularly in the domain of resting state studies. Here, we demonstrate that, not only does motion (among other confounds) exert an influence on the results of a BOLD variability analysis of task-related fMRI data—but, that the exact method used to deal with this influence has at least as large an effect as the motion itself. This sensitivity to relatively minor methodological changes is particularly concerning as studies begin to take on a more applied bent, and the risk of mischaracterizing the relationship between BOLD variability and various individual difference variables (for instance, disease progression) acquires real-world relevance.


Individual differences Correlation analysis FMRI analysis methods Confound correction 



This work was supported by the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies through contract no. W911NF-09-D-0001 from the U.S. Army Research Office.

Conflict of interest

Benjamin O. Turner, Brian Lopez, Tyler Santander, and Michael B. Miller declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, and the applicable revisions at the time of the investigation. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin O. Turner
    • 1
  • Brian Lopez
    • 1
  • Tyler Santander
    • 1
  • Michael B. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesUniversity of California Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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