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Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2013 Dec;13(4):714-24.

Quantifying the reliability of image replication studies: the image intraclass correlation coefficient (I2C2).


This article proposes the image intraclass correlation (I2C2) coefficient as a global measure of reliability for imaging studies. The I2C2 generalizes the classic intraclass correlation (ICC) coefficient to the case when the data of interest are images, thereby providing a measure that is both intuitive and convenient. Drawing a connection with classical measurement error models for replication experiments, the I2C2 can be computed quickly, even in high-dimensional imaging studies. A nonparametric bootstrap procedure is introduced to quantify the variability of the I2C2 estimator. Furthermore, a Monte Carlo permutation is utilized to test reproducibility versus a zero I2C2, representing complete lack of reproducibility. Methodologies are applied to three replication studies arising from different brain imaging modalities and settings: regional analysis of volumes in normalized space imaging for characterizing brain morphology, seed-voxel brain activation maps based on resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and fractional anisotropy in an area surrounding the corpus callosum via diffusion tensor imaging. Notably, resting-state fMRI brain activation maps are found to have low reliability, ranging from .2 to .4. Software and data are available to provide easy access to the proposed methods.

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