Front. Neuroinform., 28 August 2012 | doi: 10.3389/fninf.2012.00023

Automated regional behavioral analysis for human brain images

  • 1Research Imaging Institute, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA
  • 2Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1), Research Center, Jülich, Germany
  • 3Institute for Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology, Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany

Behavioral categories of functional imaging experiments along with standardized brain coordinates of associated activations were used to develop a method to automate regional behavioral analysis of human brain images. Behavioral and coordinate data were taken from the BrainMap database (, which documents over 20 years of published functional brain imaging studies. A brain region of interest (ROI) for behavioral analysis can be defined in functional images, anatomical images or brain atlases, if images are spatially normalized to MNI or Talairach standards. Results of behavioral analysis are presented for each of BrainMap's 51 behavioral sub-domains spanning five behavioral domains (Action, Cognition, Emotion, Interoception, and Perception). For each behavioral sub-domain the fraction of coordinates falling within the ROI was computed and compared with the fraction expected if coordinates for the behavior were not clustered, i.e., uniformly distributed. When the difference between these fractions is large behavioral association is indicated. A z-score ≥ 3.0 was used to designate statistically significant behavioral association. The left-right symmetry of ~100K activation foci was evaluated by hemisphere, lobe, and by behavioral sub-domain. Results highlighted the classic left-side dominance for language while asymmetry for most sub-domains (~75%) was not statistically significant. Use scenarios were presented for anatomical ROIs from the Harvard-Oxford cortical (HOC) brain atlas, functional ROIs from statistical parametric maps in a TMS-PET study, a task-based fMRI study, and ROIs from the ten “major representative” functional networks in a previously published resting state fMRI study. Statistically significant behavioral findings for these use scenarios were consistent with published behaviors for associated anatomical and functional regions.

Keywords: BrainMap, Mango, behavior analysis, region of interest, brain atlas, TMS-PET, fMRI, ICA

Citation: Lancaster JL, Laird AR, Eickhoff SB, Martinez MJ, Fox PM and Fox PT (2012) Automated regional behavioral analysis for human brain images. Front. Neuroinform. 6:23. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2012.00023

Received: 03 May 2012; Accepted: 27 July 2012;
Published online: 28 August 2012.

Edited by:

Robert W. Williams, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, USA

Reviewed by:

Glenn D. Rosen, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, USA
Khyobeni Mozhui, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, USA

Copyright © 2012 Lancaster, Laird, Eickhoff, Martinez, Fox and Fox. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Jack L. Lancaster, Research Imaging Institute, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 8403 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA. e-mail:

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