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Coordinate based meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging data: false discovery control and diagnostics

Tench, Christopher R.; Tanasescu, Radu; Auer, Dorothee P.; Constantinescu, Cris S.


Radu Tanasescu

Dorothee P. Auer

Cris S. Constantinescu


Coordinate based meta-analysis (CBMA) is widely used to find regions of consistent activation across fMRI studies that have been selected for their functional relevance to a given hypothesis. Only reported coordinates (foci), and a model of their spatial uncertainty, are used in the analysis. Results are clusters of foci where multiple studies have reported in the same spatial region, indicating functional relevance. There are several published methods that perform the analysis in a voxel-wise manner, resulting in around 105 statistical tests, and considerable emphasis placed on controlling the risk of type 1 statistical error. Here we address this issue by dramatically reducing the number of tests, and by introducing a new false discovery rate control: the false cluster discovery rate (FCDR). FCDR is particularly interpretable and relevant to the results of CBMA, controlling the type 1 error by limiting the proportion of clusters that are expected under the null hypothesis. We also introduce a data diagnostic scheme to help ensure quality of the analysis, and demonstrate its use in the example studies. We show that we control the false clusters better than the widely used ALE method by performing numerical experiments, and that our clustering scheme results in more complete reporting of structures relevant to the functional task.


Tench, C. R., Tanasescu, R., Auer, D. P., & Constantinescu, C. S. (2013). Coordinate based meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging data: false discovery control and diagnostics. PLoS ONE, 8(7), Article e70143.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 14, 2013
Publication Date Jul 29, 2013
Deposit Date Apr 9, 2014
Publicly Available Date Apr 9, 2014
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 7
Article Number e70143
Public URL
Publisher URL


Christopher_Tench--coordinate_based.pdf (1.1 Mb)

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