A Dead Fish, Vodoo, and Mind Reading: Issues in fMRI Research
Advances in neuroscience, and fMRI in particular, not only opens up new lines of research but is beginning to have an impact on society with far-reaching consequences. However, the steadily increasing volume of fMRI research should not distract from the problems and limitations when trying to link fMRI BOLD activity in the brain to human behaviour. Based on recent papers I will illustrate and discuss the issue of (a) multiple testing and false positives, (b) circularity in data analysis, and (c) confounds in multivariate pattern analysis. It is concluded that carefully controlled experiments and replications are needed before claims about free will, lie detection, and consumer preference can be verified.