Beyond a single experiment

If the hypothesis in question demands the investigation of more than a few subjects and/or more than one experimental condition, it is advisable to seek expert statistical advice at the outset. In general, it is important that randomization should be used appropriately to eliminate confounding effects of the order in which experiments are conducted, and of the order in which different subjects are scanned. Practice on a task may substantially alter the neurovascular response, and so all subjects should receive preliminary training on the task according to a standard protocol. If there is considerable variability between subjects in their ability to perform a task, consider adjusting the difficulty of the task presented in the scanner so that each subject is performing at the same level in terms of accuracy or reaction time. The use of functional MRI to study longitudinal changes by repeated examination of the same subject(s), for instance before and after the administration of a drug, will generally improve the statistical power to detect the effect of interest by controlling for idiosyncratic variability of functional response between subjects.

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