In general, image analysis of cognitive experiments using functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques has emphasized those regions of the brain where increases in signal intensity, with regard to the reference state, are associated with activation. Nevertheless, a number of recent papers have shown that there are areas of deactivation as well. In this study, we have used a univariate analysis and echo-planar functional magnetic resonance imaging to address the relationship of the reference state to the deactivations. We employed two dichotomous covert tasks, orthographic lexical retrieval and pure visual retrieval, to contrast with the reference state (baseline) of silent counting. Our analysis yielded extensive, task-specific landscapes of regional incremental and decremental responses. We have specifically demonstrated that the decremental responses are not due to activation in the reference state. We have also demonstrated that they are not an artifact of a specific part of the image analysis, and propose that they represent a physiological, task specific signal that should be considered an integral component of neural networks representing brain function.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Arthur Stanton Research Fund of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the National Center for Research Resources, NIH (RR 00096), National Institute of Mental Health (MH 47277), and Stanley Fellowship awards to S.J. and A.L.
- Functional MRI
- Silent counting