Home Page > Article > FMRI Isn’t Reliable

While fMRI methods provide insights into the functioning of the average human brain, they lack sufficient reliability to be used to identify stable individual differences or diagnose mental disorders, according to a paper in Psychological¬†Science. Researchers analyzed results from 90 studies–involving 1,008 participants–and other ongoing projects in which participants performed a task while their brain activity was measured with fMRI and then were retested weeks to years later on the same task. Overall test-retest reliability was poor, such that individual participants frequently did not show the same pattern of brain activation at both points in time. This was the case across a variety of tasks and even when the tests were separated by only a short time. The researchers point to the need to develop new approaches to collecting and interpreting fMRI data. (Monitor on Psychology)

Susie Bean Gives