Can cognitive processes be inferred from neuroimaging data?

@article{Poldrack2006CanCP,
  title={Can cognitive processes be inferred from neuroimaging data?},
  author={Russell A. Poldrack},
  journal={Trends in Cognitive Sciences},
  year={2006},
  volume={10},
  pages={59-63}
}
  • R. Poldrack
  • Published 1 February 2006
  • Medicine, Psychology
  • Trends in Cognitive Sciences
There is much interest currently in using functional neuroimaging techniques to understand better the nature of cognition. One particular practice that has become common is 'reverse inference', by which the engagement of a particular cognitive process is inferred from the activation of a particular brain region. Such inferences are not deductively valid, but can still provide some information. Using a Bayesian analysis of the BrainMap neuroimaging database, I characterize the amount of… 
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A 'forward inference' that one can make from patterns of brain activity to distinguish between cognitive theories is described, which resembles the dissociation logic long-used in behavioural studies of healthy and brain-damaged people.
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Some of the limits on the kinds of inferences that can be supported by fMRI are outlined, focusing particularly on reverse inference, in which the engagement of specific mental processes is inferred from patterns of brain activation.
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Using a formal Bayesian analysis framework, Poldrack shows that the usefulness of reverse inference depends on the selectivity of activation in the region of interest (the ratio of process-specific activation to the overall likelihood ofactivation in that region across all tasks).
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  • 2010
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This article attempts to place neuroimaging within the broader context of the cognitive neuroscience approach, which emphasizes the benefits of converging methodologies for understanding cognition and how it is supported by the functioning of the brain.
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To assess the involvement of a certain alteration pattern in a brain disorder, the Bayes’ factor technique was used on voxel-based morphometry data of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease to calculate the ratio between the likelihoods of two alternative hypotheses.
Reverse inference is not a fallacy per se: Cognitive processes can be inferred from functional imaging data
  • F. Hutzler
  • Computer Science, Psychology
    NeuroImage
  • 2014
TLDR
The present manuscript provides a revised formulation of reverse inference that includes an additional conditional constraint that has been previously acknowledged, but so far not implemented: the task-setting, which reveals that reverse inference can have high predictive power and allows an estimation ofreverse inference on the basis of meta-analyses instead of large-scale databases.
Finding specificity in structural brain alterations through Bayesian reverse inference
TLDR
A new analytical instrument capable of innovating the methodological approach to the investigation of brain pathology is put forward, which was employed, as a proof of concept, on voxel‐based morphometry data of schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease.
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