Conceptual Challenges in the Neuroimaging of Psychiatric Disorders


We consider the conceptual problems facing the application of functional imaging, particularly functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to psychiatric disorders. We first divide the problems facing the fMRI of normal function into problems of the task, power, and analysis. We then argue that each of these is more pronounced when fMRI is applied to psychiatric patients. Although fMRI has been instrumental in shaping the biological conception of psychiatry, the challenges it faces in delivering on the promise of a bridge from cognitive psychopathology to brain function are daunting.