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How to characterize the function of a brain region

Genon, Sarah; Reid, Andrew; Langner, Robert; Amunts, Katrin; Eickhoff, Simon B.


Sarah Genon

Andrew Reid

Robert Langner

Katrin Amunts

Simon B. Eickhoff


Many brain regions have been defined, but a comprehensive formalization of each region’s function in relation to human behavior is still lacking. Current knowledge comes from various fields, which have diverse conceptions of ‘functions’. We briefly review these fields and outline how the heterogeneity of associations could be harnessed to disclose the computational function of any region. Aggregating activation data from neuroimaging studies allows us to characterize the functional engagement of a region across a range of experimental conditions. Furthermore, large-sample data can disclose covariation between brain region features and ecological behavioral phenotyping. Combining these two approaches opens a new perspective to determine the behavioral associations of a brain region, and hence its function and broader role within large-scale functional networks.


Genon, S., Reid, A., Langner, R., Amunts, K., & Eickhoff, S. B. (2018). How to characterize the function of a brain region. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2018
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2018
Publication Date Apr 30, 2018
Deposit Date Apr 24, 2018
Publicly Available Date Apr 24, 2018
Journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Print ISSN 1364-6613
Electronic ISSN 1879-307X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 4
Keywords Functional specialization; Data-driven; Brain mapping; MRI; Neurosynth; BrainMap
Public URL
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