Pros and Cons of Using the Informed Basis Set to Account for Hemodynamic Response Variability with Developmental Data

  • Cignetti Fabien
  • Salvia Emilie
  • Anton Jean-Luc
  • Grosbras Marie-Hélène
  • Assaiante Christine

  • FMRI
  • Hemodynamic response
  • Random-effects analysis
  • Smoothness
  • Basis set
  • DEvelopment
  • IRMf
  • Adolescents


Conventional analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data using the general linear model (GLM) employs a neural model convolved with a canonical hemodynamic response function (HRF) peaking 5 s after stimulation. Incorporation of a further basis function, namely the canonical HRF temporal derivative, accounts for delays in the hemodynamic response to neural activity. A population that may benefit from this flexible approach is children whose hemodynamic response is not yet mature. Here, we examined the effects of using the set based on the canonical HRF plus its temporal derivative on both first- and second-level GLM analyses, through simulations and using developmental data (an fMRI dataset on proprioceptive mapping in children and adults). Simulations of delayed fMRI first-level data emphasized the benefit of carrying forward to the second-level a derivative boost that combines derivative and nonderivative beta estimates. In the experimental data, second-level analysis using a paired t-test showed increased mean amplitude estimate (i.e., increased group contrast mean) in several brain regions related to proprioceptive processing when using the derivative boost compared to using only the nonderivative term. This was true especially in children. However, carrying forward to the second-level the individual derivative boosts had adverse consequences on random-effects analysis that implemented one-sample t-test, yielding increased between-subject variance, thus affecting group-level statistic. Boosted data also presented a lower level of smoothness that had implication for the detection of group average activation. Imposing soft constraints on the derivative boost by limiting the time-to-peak range of the modeled response within a specified range (i.e., 4–6 s) mitigated these issues. These findings support the notion that there are pros and cons to using the informed basis set with developmental data.