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Trends Cogn Sci. 2018 Apr;22(4):350-364. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2018.01.010. Epub 2018 Feb 28.

How to Characterize the Function of a Brain Region.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1, INM-7), Research Centre Jülich, Jülich, Germany; Institute of Systems Neuroscience, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany. Electronic address: s.genon@fz-juelich.de.
2
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
3
Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1, INM-7), Research Centre Jülich, Jülich, Germany; Institute of Systems Neuroscience, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.
4
Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1, INM-7), Research Centre Jülich, Jülich, Germany; C. and O. Vogt Institute for Brain Research, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.

Abstract

Many brain regions have been defined, but a comprehensive formalization of each region's function in relation to human behavior is still lacking. Current knowledge comes from various fields, which have diverse conceptions of 'functions'. We briefly review these fields and outline how the heterogeneity of associations could be harnessed to disclose the computational function of any region. Aggregating activation data from neuroimaging studies allows us to characterize the functional engagement of a region across a range of experimental conditions. Furthermore, large-sample data can disclose covariation between brain region features and ecological behavioral phenotyping. Combining these two approaches opens a new perspective to determine the behavioral associations of a brain region, and hence its function and broader role within large-scale functional networks.

KEYWORDS:

BrainMap; Functional specialization; MRI; Neurosynth; brain mapping; data-driven

PMID:
29501326
DOI:
10.1016/j.tics.2018.01.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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