A critique of functional localisers

K. J. Friston, P. Rotshtein, J. J. Geng, P. Sterzer, R. N. Henson

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Debate


In this critique, we review the usefulness of functional localising scans in functional MRI studies. We consider their conceptual motivations and the implications for experimental design and inference. Functional localisers can often be viewed as acquiring data from cells that have been removed from an implicit factorial design. This perspective reveals their potentially restrictive nature. We deconstruct two examples from the recent literature to highlight the key issues. We conclude that localiser scans can be unnecessary and, in some instances, lead to a biased and inappropriately constrained characterisation of functional anatomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1087
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 May 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Wellcome Trust supported this work. We thank very much Marcia Bennett for preparing the manuscript. We would like to thank Cathy Price, John Haynes and Jon Driver for invaluable contributions. We would also like to thank Zoë Kourtzi and Scott Slotnick, for ensuring that their original findings were properly represented in this discussion.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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