Adjusting the Neuroimaging Statistical Inferences for Nonstationarity

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5761)


In neuroimaging cluster-based inference has generally been found to be more powerful than voxel-wise inference [1]. However standard cluster-based methods assume stationarity (constant smoothness), while under nonstationarity clusters are larger in smooth regions just by chance, making false positive risk spatially variant. Hayasaka et al. [2] proposed a Random Field Theory (RFT) based nonstationarity adjustment for cluster inference and validated the method in terms of controlling the overall family-wise false positive rate. The RFT-based methods, however, have never been directly assessed in terms of homogeneity of local false positive risk. In this work we propose a new cluster size adjustment that accounts for local smoothness, based on local empirical cluster size distributions and a two-pass permutation method. We also propose a new approach to measure homogeneity of local false positive risk, and use this method to compare the RFT-based and our new empirical adjustment methods. We apply these techniques to both cluster-based and a related inference, threshold-free cluster enhancement (TFCE). Using simulated and real data we confirm the expected heterogeneity in false positive risk with unadjusted cluster inference but find that RFT-based adjustment does not fully eliminate heterogeneity; we also observe that our proposed empirical adjustment dramatically increases the homogeneity and TFCE inference is generally quite robust to nonstationarity.


Cluster Size Local Smoothness Null Data Random Field Theory Empirical Adjustment 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB)University of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.GlaxoSmithKline Clinical Imaging CentreLondonUK

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