fMRI Researchers need to read this article (if they haven’t already)

A HopStat and Jump Away

I have recently read “Guidelines for reporting an fMRI study” (, from NeuroImage 2008 by Russell A. Poldrack, Paul C. Fletcher, Richard N. Henson, Keith J. Worsley, Matthew Brett, and Thomas E. Nichols.  and I have to say the article is very comprehensive.

Many of the discussion points they bring up are becoming much more commonplace in fMRI but not fast enough.  I was also surprised to see that it was cited only 97 times (as of May 7, 2013 on Google Scholar).  Maybe there are many other guideline papers out there, but it seems as though this one would be a good practical one to cite.  I thought that maybe it would be because people didn’t know where to put it (and as such leave it out).  Something like a “We completed this manuscript using the defined checklist of PAPER” for example to cite it may be a bit awkward, but…

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Can compassion be trained like a muscle? Active-controlled fMRI of compassion meditation.

Dr. Micah Allen

Among the cognitive training literature, meditation interventions are particularly unique in that they often emphasize emotional or affective processing at least as much as classical ‘top-down’ attentional control. From a clinical and societal perspective, the idea that we might be able to “train” our “emotion muscle” is an attractive one. Recently much has been made of the “empathy deficit” in the US, ranging from empirical studies suggesting a relationship between quality-of-care and declining caregiver empathy, to a recent push by President Obama to emphasize the deficit in numerous speeches.

While much of the training literature focuses on cognitive abilities like sustained attention and working memory, many investigating meditation training have begun to study the plasticity of affective function, myself included.  A recent study by Helen Weng and colleagues in Wisconsin investigated just this question, asking if compassion (“loving-kindness”) meditation can alter altruistic behavior and associated neural processing. Her study is…

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