Journal Article

Images Are Not the Evidence in Neuroimaging

Colin Klein

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 61, issue 2, pages 265-278
Published in print June 2010 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online August 2009 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Images Are Not the Evidence in Neuroimaging

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fMRI promises to uncover the functional structure of the brain. I argue, however, that pictures of ‘brain activity' associated with fMRI experiments are poor evidence for functional claims. These neuroimages present the results of null hypothesis significance tests performed on fMRI data. Significance tests alone cannot provide evidence about the functional structure of causally dense systems, including the brain. Instead, neuroimages should be seen as indicating regions where further data analysis is warranted. This additional analysis rarely involves simple significance testing, and so justified skepticism about neuroimages does not provide reason for skepticism about fMRI more generally. 1



Neuroimages Are Statistical Maps


The Skeptical Argument 3.1

Evidence and neuroimages


The problem of causal density


The problem of arbitrary thresholds


The problem of vague alternatives


Skepticism Is Due to NHST


Neuroimages versus Neuroimaging

Journal Article.  5924 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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