What does fMRI tell us about neuronal activity?

David J. Heeger, David Ress

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

In recent years, cognitive neuroscientists have taken great advantage of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a non-invasive method of measuring neuronal activity in the human brain. But what exactly does fMRI tell us? We know that its signals arise from changes in local haemodynamics that, in turn, result from alterations in neuronal activity, but exactly how neuronal activity, haemodynamics and fMRI signals are related is unclear. It has been assumed that the fMRI signal is proportional to the local average neuronal activity, but many factors can influence the relationship between the two. A clearer understanding of how neuronal activity influences the fMRI signal is needed if we are correctly to interpret functional imaging data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-151
Number of pages10
JournalNature Reviews Neuroscience
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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