Automated regional behavioral analysis for human brain images

Jack L. Lancaster, Angela R. Laird, Simon B. Eickhoff, Michael J. Martinez, P. Mickle Fox, Peter T. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Behavioral categories of functional imaging experiments along with standardized brain coordinates of associated activations were used to develop a method to automate regional behavioral analysis of human brain images. Behavioral and coordinate data were taken from the BrainMap database (, which documents over twenty years of published functional brain imaging studies. A brain region of interest (ROI) for behavioral analysis can be defined in functional images, anatomical images or brain atlases, if images are spatially normalized to MNI or Talairach standards. Results of behavioral analysis are presented for each of BrainMap's fifty-one behavioral sub-domains spanning five behavioral domains (Action, Cognition, Emotion, Interoception, and Perception). For each behavioral sub-domain the fraction of coordinates falling within the ROI was computed and compared with the fraction expected if coordinates for the behavior were not clustered, i.e. uniformly distributed. When the difference between these fractions is large behavioral association is indicated. A z-score ≥3.0 was used to designate statistically significant behavioral association. The left-right symmetry of ~100K activation foci was evaluated by hemisphere, lobe, and by behavioral subdomain. Results highlighted the classic left-side dominance for language while asymmetry for most subdomains (~75%) was not statistically significant. Use scenarios were presented for anatomical ROIs from the Harvard-Oxford cortical brain atlas, functional ROIs from statistical parametric maps in a TMS-PET study, a task-based fMRI study, and ROIs from the ten "major representative" functional networks in a previously published resting state fMRI study. Statistically significant behavioral findings for these use scenarios were consistent with published behaviors for associated anatomical and functional regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Issue numberJULY 2012
StatePublished - Aug 28 2012


  • Behavior analysis
  • Brain atlas
  • Brainmap
  • ICA
  • Mango
  • Region of interest
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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