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fMRI: Predicting Normal Neural Activity

fMRI: Predicting Normal Neural Activity

July 01, 2008 In the News

fMRI-based research has previously been successful in predicting areas of neural activity within the brain while concentrating on specific words. Previous studies have investigated the relationship among various semantic categories (such as animals, clothing , buildings, tools, etc.) and the location of neural activity within the human brain.

Mitchell et al (2008) examined 60 nouns and the likelihood of their combination with 25 verbs, representing common sensory or motor actions. The computer created “semantic signatures” based on the noun’s meaning, which corresponded to fMRI-based cerebral neural activation patterns. The two events (semantic signatures and neural activation patterns) were correlated and statistically analyzed.

In the final analysis, while nine volunteers thought about a particular noun/verb combination, the computer model was able to predict the location of neural activity with 77% accuracy.

Although the application of fMRI technology to auditory processing disorders (APDs) is only in infancy, perhaps in the not too distant future we might be better able to define “What we do with what we hear” (see Katz, 1992) using fMRI to establish physiologic and anatomic norms based on age and gender-specific stimuli. fMRI might also help define and describe anatomic and physiologic processes related to aural rehabilitation, neural plasticity, and related phenomena.

For More Information, References and Recommendations:
Katz, Stecker, Henderson (1992):
Central Auditory Processing: A Transdisciplinary View
St. Louis, MO: Mosby Year Book

Mitchell, TM, Shinkareva, SV, Carlson, A, Chang, K-M, Malave, VL, Mason, RA, Just, MA (2008): Predicting Human Brain Activity Associated with the Meanings of Nouns. Science 30, May, 2008, Vol 320, No 5880, pgs 1191-1195.

Welberg, L. (20088): Neuroimaging: I see what you mean.
Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9, 479-497, July 2008

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