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Can We Make Useful Inferences about Neuronal Responses from fMRI Data?

Cheryl Olman, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota

Presented: March 20, 2015

ABSTRACT: A central theme in my research is testing the utility of functional magnetic resonance imaging as a proxy for neuronal activity or neural computations.  Taking advantage of the ultra-high magnetic fields available at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research in Minnesota, it has become routine for us to acquire functional imaging data with millimeter or sub-millimeter resolution.  Our functional signal is localized to the gray matter with satisfying precision.  However, I remain only cautiously optimistic about my attempts to draw clear, defensible inferences about the neural computations occurring in these beautifully localized regions of cortex.  My content area is early visual information processing, and in this talk I will present a series of recent experiments in primary visual cortex to illustrate limitations of the utility of fMRI for understanding how the brain serves behavior.

Information shared in this lecture was requested be held from public access. MRN employees can access the presentation here.

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