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MRI Signals: Myth and Reality-What we can and cannot do with fMRI

Nikos Logothetis

Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 05:00pm - 06:00pm

Director of the Department "Physiology of Cognitive Processes", Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tubin

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Our current knowledge of cortical microcircuits, inhibition, neuromodulation, and glia cell activity suggests that fMRI can be used as an excellent tool for formulating intelligent, data-based hypotheses, but only in certain special cases can it be useful for unambiguously selecting one of them, or for explaining the detailed neural mechanisms underlying the studied cognitive capacities. In the vast majority of cases, it is the combination of fMRI with other techniques and the parallel use of animal models that will be the most effective strategy for understanding brain function. In my talk, I'll summarize what we have learned from physiology, pharmacology, microstimulation and fMRI experiments and discuss the extent to which the BOLD fMRI signal reflects local changes in neural activity.

Nikos Logothetis