Important recent advances in the cognitive neuroscience of language have been made using functional localizers to demarcate language-selective regions in individual brains. Although single-subject localizers offer insights that are unavailable in classic group analyses, they require additional scan time that imposes costs on investigators and participants. In particular, the unique practical challenges of scanning children and other special populations has led to less adoption of localizers for neuroimaging research with these theoretically and clinically important groups. Here, we examined how measurements of the spatial extent and functional response profiles of language regions are affected by the duration of an auditory language localizer. We compared how parametrically smaller amounts of data collected from one scanning session affected (i) consistency of group-level whole-brain parcellations, (ii) functional selectivity of subject-level activation in individually defined functional regions of interest (fROIs), (iii) sensitivity and specificity of subject-level whole-brain and fROI activation, and (iv) test-retest reliability of subject-level whole-brain and fROI activation. For many of these metrics, the localizer duration could be reduced by 50-75% while preserving the stability and reliability of both the spatial extent and functional response profiles of language areas. These results indicate that, for most measures relevant to cognitive neuroimaging studies, the brain’s language network can be localized just as effectively with 3.5 min of scan time as it can with 12 min. Minimizing the time required to reliably localize the brain’s language network allows more effective localizer use in situations where each minute of scan time is particularly precious.


Lee, J.J., Scott, T.L., & Perrachione, T.K. (2024). Efficient functional localization of language regions in the brain. NeuroImage, 285, 120489.

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