Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies of Emotion, Personality, and Social Cognition 1

@article{Vul2009PuzzlinglyHC,
  title={Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies of Emotion, Personality, and Social Cognition 1},
  author={Edward Vul and Christine R. Harris and Piotr Winkielman and Harold Pashler},
  journal={Perspectives on Psychological Science},
  year={2009},
  volume={4},
  pages={274 - 290}
}
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studiesofemotion, personality, and social cognition have drawn much attention in recent years, with high-profile studies frequently reporting extremely high (e.g., >.8) correlations between brain activation and personality measures. We show that these correlations are higher than should be expected given the (evidently limited) reliability of both fMRI and personality measures. The high correlations are all the more puzzling because method sections… 
Correlations in Social Neuroscience Aren't Voodoo: Commentary on Vul et al. (2009)
TLDR
This issue explains how whole-brain regressions are a valid single-step method of identifying brain regions that have reliable correlations with individual difference measures and provides a simulation to demonstrate that typical fMRI sample sizes will only rarely produce large correlations in the absence of any true effect.
1 Suspiciously high correlations in brain imaging research
Edward Vul [evul@ucsd.edu]; Harold Pashler [hpashler@ucsd.edu]; UCSD Psychology In early 2005 a speaker visiting our department reported that blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) activity in a small
Discussion of “Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies of Emotion, Personality, and Social Cognition” by Vul et al. (2009)
  • N. Lazar
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2009
TLDR
The issue of nonindependent analysis in behavioral neuroimaging, whereby correlations are artificially inflated as a result of spurious statistical procedures, is raised but the phenomenon in question is a type of selection bias and hence is neither new nor unique to fMRI.
Correlations in Social Neuroscience Aren't Voodoo
TLDR
In an article in this issue, Vul, Harris, Winkielman, & Pashler claim that brain-personality correlations in many social neuroscience studies and those in related fields are ''implausibly high'' and should not be believed, but a simulation shows that typical fMRI sample sizes will only rarely produce large correlations in the absence of any true correlation.
Suspiciously high correlations in brain imaging research
Edited by Scott O. Lilienfeld and Irwin D. Waldman. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. In early 2005, a speaker visiting our department reported that
Commentary on Vul et al.'s (2009) “Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies of Emotion, Personality, and Social Cognition”
TLDR
This issue contends the authors' argument is overstated and that their work can be distilled down to two points already familiar to the neuroimaging community: that the multiple testing problem must be accounted for, and that reporting of methods and results should be improved.
The reliability paradox: Why robust cognitive tasks do not produce reliable individual differences
TLDR
The very reason such tasks produce robust and easily replicable experimental effects – low between-participant variability – makes their use as correlational tools problematic, and it is demonstrated that taking reliability estimates into account has the potential to qualitatively change theoretical conclusions.
Towards Tunable Consensus Clustering for Studying Functional Brain Connectivity During Affective Processing
TLDR
It is found that brain structures related to visual, reward, and auditory processing have intrinsic spatial patterns of coherent neuroactivity during affective processing in fMRI data involving a variety of stimuli and affective evaluations of them.
Searching for replicable associations between cortical thickness and psychometric variables in healthy adults: empirical facts
TLDR
Empirically investigated the replicability of associations of an extended range of psychometric variables and CT in a large cohort of healthy adults and revealed low likelihood of significant associations.
Item-Wise Interindividual Brain-Behavior Correlation in Task Neuroimaging Analysis
TLDR
Simulations and example analyses demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed correlation procedure for task neuroimaging studies, which enhances statistical power via testing the significance of small correlation coefficients from trials against zero rather than simply pursuing the highest correlation coefficient.
...
1
2
3
4
5
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 130 REFERENCES
Correlations in Social Neuroscience Aren't Voodoo: Commentary on Vul et al. (2009)
TLDR
This issue explains how whole-brain regressions are a valid single-step method of identifying brain regions that have reliable correlations with individual difference measures and provides a simulation to demonstrate that typical fMRI sample sizes will only rarely produce large correlations in the absence of any true effect.
Correlations in Social Neuroscience Aren't Voodoo
TLDR
In an article in this issue, Vul, Harris, Winkielman, & Pashler claim that brain-personality correlations in many social neuroscience studies and those in related fields are ''implausibly high'' and should not be believed, but a simulation shows that typical fMRI sample sizes will only rarely produce large correlations in the absence of any true correlation.
Personality and emotion: test of Gray's personality theory by means of an fMRI study.
TLDR
The authors tested 12 control subjects and 12 subjects who had sadomasochistic experiences with respect to the relationship between J. A. Gray's (1970) personality dimensions, the behavioral approach system (BAS) and the behavioral inhibition system ( BIS), and brain activity in regions of interest.
Personality predicts activity in reward and emotional regions associated with humor.
TLDR
This work uses event-related functional MRI to address the putative neural and behavioral associations between humor appreciation and the personality dimensions of introversion-extroversion and emotional stability-neuroticism, and shows extroversion to positively correlate with humor-driven blood oxygenation level-dependent signal in discrete regions of the right orbital frontal cortex, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and bilateral temporal cortices.
Test-retest reliability of a functional MRI working memory paradigm in normal and schizophrenic subjects.
TLDR
Even given reliable task performance, stable clinical status, and a stable pattern of group-averaged activation, individual subjects showed unreliable brain activation, suggesting that repeated fMRI studies of schizophrenia should control for sources of variation, both artifactual and intrinsic.
Big Correlations in Little Studies: Inflated fMRI Correlations Reflect Low Statistical Power—Commentary on Vul et al. (2009)
  • T. Yarkoni
  • Psychology, Biology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2009
TLDR
It is demonstrated that the primary cause of grossly inflated correlations in whole-brain fMRI analyses is not nonindependence, but the pernicious combination of small sample sizes and stringent alpha-correction levels.
Personality from a controlled processing perspective: An fMRI study of neuroticism, extraversion, and self-consciousness
TLDR
Interoceptive accuracy, an outcome associated with neuroticism, was better accounted for by dACC reactivity than by self-reported neuroticism (r2=.16), suggesting that neural reactivities may provide a more direct measure of personality than self-reports do.
An fMRI study of personality influences on brain reactivity to emotional stimuli.
TLDR
This study provides direct evidence that personality is associated with brain reactivity to emotional stimuli and identifies both common and distinct brain regions where such modulation takes place.
...
1
2
3
4
5
...