A Bayesian general linear modeling approach to cortical surface fMRI data analysis

Amanda F. Mejia, Yu Ryan Yue, David Bolin, Finn Lindgren, Martin A. Lindquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cortical surface fMRI (cs-fMRI) has recently grown in popularity versus traditional volumetric fMRI, as it allows for more meaningful spatial smoothing and is more compatible with the common assumptions of isotropy and stationarity in Bayesian spatial models. However, as no Bayesian spatial model has been proposed for cs-fMRI data, most analyses continue to employ the classical, voxel-wise general linear model (GLM) (Worsley and Friston 1995). Here, we propose a Bayesian GLM for cs-fMRI, which employs a class of sophisticated spatial processes to flexibly model latent activation fields. We use integrated nested Laplacian approximation (INLA), a highly accurate and efficient Bayesian computation technique (Rue et al. 2009). To identify regions of activation, we propose an excursions set method based on the joint posterior distribution of the latent fields, which eliminates the need for multiple comparisons correction. Finally, we address a gap in the existing literature by proposing a novel Bayesian approach for multi-subject analysis. The methods are validated and compared to the classical GLM through simulation studies and a motor task fMRI study from the Human Connectome Project. The proposed Bayesian approach results in smoother activation estimates, more accurate false positive control, and increased power to detect truly active regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jun 3 2017


  • Brain imaging
  • Integrated nested Laplace approximation
  • Smoothing
  • Spatial statistics
  • Stochastic partial differential equation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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