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What is meant by “degrees of freedom” in fMRI?

What is meant by “degrees of freedom” in fMRI?



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I am reading the paper "Classical and Bayesian Inference in Neuroimaging" by Friston. In the introduction he says:

"[… ] a trivially small activation can be declared significant if there are sufficient degrees of freedom to render the variability of the action's estimate small enough."

I have heard the terms "degrees of freedom" in the context of neuroimaging numerous times but I never understood what it actually means. I sometimes also encounter the same term in a statistical context but I assume it's not the same as what Friston is referring to here. Or am I utterly mistaken?


In a statistical context, any independent datum adds a degree of freedom. So when Friston talks about "sufficient degrees of freedom to render the variability of the action's estimate small enough" he simply means "sufficient sample size to cancel out noise". At least that's my take on it, based only on the single quoted phrase(!).


Watch the video: Jonathan Pillow - Tutorial: Statistical models for neural data - Part 2 Cosyne 2018 (August 2022).