Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trawling the brain

Tim Tourville found this very interesting article in ScienceNews and sent it along for our consideration. It points out that the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), the spectacular imaging tool that has revealed so much about the connections between neural activity, neuroanatomy, and behavior, is prone to some very serious problems of interpretation.

That is a great little article. It pretty much has the whole of inferential statistics in there, including the the ecological fallacy ("Mass Effects" in the article), trade-offs between sensitivity and specificity ("arguing that these protections shouldn’t be so strong that the real results are tossed too, like a significant baby with the statistical bathwater"), and simple Type 1 error.



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