Researchers at Linkoping University and the University of Warwick have shown that common statistical methods used to analyze brain activity through images taken with magnetic resonance imaging scanners cannot be trusted. The researchers tested the analysis methods by using them on known, reliable data, and found the methods showed false activity in the brain in 60 percent of the cases.
The statistical methods are built on several assumptions, and if just one of these assumptions is incorrect, the results also will be incorrect. The researchers have proposed another method in which few assumptions are made and 1,000 times more calculations are done, which produces a significantly more certain result. In addition, modern graphics cards enable the processing time to be reduced so the method is more practical.
"If you've spent months gathering data at great cost, you should be more interested in letting the analysis take time so that it's correct," says Anders Eklund, a Linkoping University researcher. He notes although some studies may need to be redone, the most important aspect of this research is that it shows researchers need to think about what method they use in the future.
From Linkoping University
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