Automated regional behavioral analysis for human brain images.

Lancaster JL, Laird AR, Eickhoff SB, Martinez MJ, Fox PM, Fox PT, Front Neuroinform 6 :23 (2012).


Behavioral categories of functional imaging experiments along with standardized brain coordinates of associated activations were used to develop a method to automate regional behavioral analysis of human brain images. Behavioral and coordinate data were taken from the BrainMap database (, which documents over 20 years of published functional brain imaging studies. A brain region of interest (ROI) for behavioral analysis can be defined in functional images, anatomical images or brain atlases, if images are spatially normalized to MNI or Talairach standards. Results of behavioral analysis are presented for each of BrainMap’s 51 behavioral sub-domains spanning five behavioral domains (Action, Cognition, Emotion, Interoception, and Perception). For each behavioral sub-domain the fraction of coordinates falling within the ROI was computed and compared with the fraction expected if coordinates for the behavior were not clustered, i.e., uniformly distributed. When the difference between these fractions is large behavioral association is indicated. A z-score >/= 3.0 was used to designate statistically significant behavioral association. The left-right symmetry of ~100K activation foci was evaluated by hemisphere, lobe, and by behavioral sub-domain. Results highlighted the classic left-side dominance for language while asymmetry for most sub-domains (~75%) was not statistically significant. Use scenarios were presented for anatomical ROIs from the Harvard-Oxford cortical (HOC) brain atlas, functional ROIs from statistical parametric maps in a TMS-PET study, a task-based fMRI study, and ROIs from the ten “major representative” functional networks in a previously published resting state fMRI study. Statistically significant behavioral findings for these use scenarios were consistent with published behaviors for associated anatomical and functional regions.