A novel ANCOVA design for analysis of MEG data with application to a visual attention study.
Pantazis D., Simpson GV., Weber DL., Dale CL., Nichols TE., Leahy RM.
Statistical inference from MEG-based distributed activation maps is well suited to the general linear modeling framework, a standard approach to the analysis of fMRI and PET neuroimaging studies. However, there are important differences from the other neuroimaging modalities related to how observations are created and fitted in GLM models, as well as how subsequent statistical inference is performed. In this paper, we demonstrate how MEG oscillatory components can be analyzed in this framework based on a custom ANCOVA model that takes into account baseline and inter-hemispheric effects, rather than a simpler ANOVA design. We present the methodology using as an example an MEG study of visual spatial attention, since the model design depends on the specific experiment and neuroscience hypotheses being tested. However, the techniques presented here can be readily adapted to accommodate other experimental paradigms. We create statistics that estimate the temporal evolution of attention effects on alpha power in several cortical regions. We present evidence for direction-specific attention effects on alpha activity in occipital and parietal regions and demonstrate the sub-second timing of these effects in each region. The results support a mechanism for anticipatory attentional deployment that dynamically modulates the local alpha synchrony in a network of parietal control and occipital sensory regions.