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Neuroimage. 2012 Aug 15;62(2):1177-84. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.09.084. Epub 2011 Oct 8.

The mixed block/event-related design.

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Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Neuroimaging studies began using block design and event-related design experiments. While providing many insights into brain functions, these fMRI design types ignore components of the BOLD signal that can teach us additional elements. The development of the mixed block/event-related fMRI design allowed for a fuller characterization of nonlinear and time-sensitive neuronal responses: for example, the interaction between block and event related factors and the simultaneous extraction of transient activity related to trials and block transitions and sustained activity related to task-level processing. This review traces the origins of the mixed block/event-related design from conceptual precursors to a seminal paper and on to subsequent studies using the method. The review also comments on aspects of the experimental design that must be considered when attempting to use the mixed block/event-related design. When taking into account these considerations, the mixed block/event-related design allows fuller utilization of the BOLD signal allowing deeper interpretation of how regions of the brain function on multiple timescales.

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