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J Vis Exp. 2010 Jul 24;(41). pii: 1988. doi: 10.3791/1988.

Basics of multivariate analysis in neuroimaging data.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Columbia University, NY, USA. ch629@columbia.edu

Abstract

Multivariate analysis techniques for neuroimaging data have recently received increasing attention as they have many attractive features that cannot be easily realized by the more commonly used univariate, voxel-wise, techniques(1,4,5,6,7). Multivariate approaches evaluate correlation/covariance of activation across brain regions, rather than proceeding on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Thus, their results can be more easily interpreted as a signature of neural networks. Univariate approaches, on the other hand, cannot directly address interregional correlation in the brain. Multivariate approaches can also result in greater statistical power when compared with univariate techniques, which are forced to employ very stringent corrections for voxel-wise multiple comparisons. Further, multivariate techniques also lend themselves much better to prospective application of results from the analysis of one dataset to entirely new datasets. Multivariate techniques are thus well placed to provide information about mean differences and correlations with behavior, similarly to univariate approaches, with potentially greater statistical power and better reproducibility checks. In contrast to these advantages is the high barrier of entry to the use of multivariate approaches, preventing more widespread application in the community. To the neuroscientist becoming familiar with multivariate analysis techniques, an initial survey of the field might present a bewildering variety of approaches that, although algorithmically similar, are presented with different emphases, typically by people with mathematics backgrounds. We believe that multivariate analysis techniques have sufficient potential to warrant better dissemination. Researchers should be able to employ them in an informed and accessible manner. The current article is an attempt at a didactic introduction of multivariate techniques for the novice. A conceptual introduction is followed with a very simple application to a diagnostic data set from the Alzheimer s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), clearly demonstrating the superior performance of the multivariate approach.

PMID:
20689509
PMCID:
PMC3074457
DOI:
10.3791/1988
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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