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Neuroimage. 2010 Sep;52(3):752-65. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.12.068. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Computational and dynamic models in neuroimaging.

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  • 1The Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, UK.


This article reviews the substantial impact computational neuroscience has had on neuroimaging over the past years. It builds on the distinction between models of the brain as a computational machine and computational models of neuronal dynamics per se; i.e., models of brain function and biophysics. Both sorts of model borrow heavily from computational neuroscience, and both have enriched the analysis of neuroimaging data and the type of questions we address. To illustrate the role of functional models in imaging neuroscience, we focus on optimal control and decision (game) theory; the models used here provide a mechanistic account of neuronal computations and the latent (mental) states represent by the brain. In terms of biophysical modelling, we focus on dynamic causal modelling, with a special emphasis on recent advances in neural-mass models for hemodynamic and electrophysiological time series. Each example emphasises the role of generative models, which embed our hypotheses or questions, and the importance of model comparison (i.e., hypothesis testing). We will refer to this theme, when trying to contextualise recent trends in relation to each other.

Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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