The influence of study characteristics on coordinate-based fMRI meta-analyses
. 2017-05-30; :
AbstractGiven the increasing amount of neuroimaging studies, there is a growing need to summarize published results. Coordinate-based meta-analyses use the locations of statistically significant local maxima with possibly the associated effect sizes to aggregate studies. In this paper, we investigate the influence of key characteristics of a coordinate-based meta-analysis on (1) the balance between false and true positives and (2) the reliability of the outcome from a coordinate-based meta-analysis. More particularly, we consider the influence of the chosen group level model at the study level (fixed effects, ordinary least squares or mixed effects models), the type of coordinate-based meta-analysis (Activation Likelihood Estimation, fixed effects and random effects meta-analysis) and the amount of studies included in the analysis (10, 20 or 35). To do this, we apply a resampling scheme on a large dataset (N = 1400) to create a test condition and compare this with an independent evaluation condition. The test condition corresponds to subsampling participants into studies and combine these using meta-analyses. The evaluation condition corresponds to a high-powered group analysis. We observe the best performance when using mixed effects models in individual studies combined with a random effects meta-analysis. This effect increases with the number of studies included in the meta-analysis. We also show that the popular Activation Likelihood Estimation procedure is a valid alternative, though the results depend on the chosen threshold for significance. Furthermore, this method requires at least 20 to 35 studies. Finally, we discuss the differences, interpretations and limitations of our results.