WIAS Preprint No. 1353, (2008)

High resolution fMRI: Overcoming the signal-to-noise problem


  • Tabelow, Karsten
    ORCID: 0000-0003-1274-9951
  • Piëch, Valentin
  • Polzehl, Jörg
    ORCID: 0000-0001-7471-2658
  • Voss, Henning U.

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 62P10 92C55


  • functional MR, structure adaptive smoothing, high-resolution fMRI




Increasing the spatial resolution in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) inherently lowers the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). In order to still detect functionally significant activations in high-resolution images, spatial smoothing of the data is required. However, conventional non-adaptive smoothing comes with a reduced effective resolution, foiling the benefit of the higher acquisition resolution. We show how our recently proposed structural adaptive smoothing procedure for functional MRI data can improve signal detection of high-resolution fMRI experiments regardless of the lower SNR. The procedure is evaluated on human visual and sensory-motor mapping experiments. In these applications, the higher resolution could be fully utilized and high-resolution experiments were outperforming normal resolution experiments by means of both statistical significance and information content.

Appeared in

  • J. Neurosci. Meth., 178 (2009) pp. 357--365.

Download Documents