The explosive growth of the human neuroimaging literature has led to major advances in understanding of normal and abnormal human brain function, but has also made aggregation and synthesis of neuroimaging findings increasingly difficult. The goal of this project is to develop an automated software platform for large-scale synthesis of human functional neuroimaging studies. Our work builds directly on an existing software platform (NeuroSynth) and involves key extensions and improvements that focus on (i) aggregation, (ii) coding, (iii) synthesis, and (iv) sharing of functional neuroimaging data.
In Aim 1, we will use computational linguistics and bioinformatics data mining techniques to develop new algorithms for automatically extracting activation foci and associated metadata from published neuroimaging articles.
In Aim 2, we will use topic-modeling techniques such as Latent Dirichlet Analysis in combination with existing cognitive ontologies such as the Cognitive Atlas to develop structured representations of automatically extracted neuroimaging data.
In Aim 3, we will improve the meta-analysis and classification capacities of our existing platform by implementing a state-of- the-art hierarchical Bayesian meta-analysis method recently developed by the research team. Finally, in Aim 4, we will develop a state-of-the-art web interface (:// that supports real-time, in-browser access to the data, results, and tools produced in Aims 1 - 3. Realizing these objectives will introduce powerful new tools for organizing and synthesizing the neuroimaging literature on an unprecedented scale. These tools will be freely and publicly available to anyone with an internet connection, enabling rapid and efficient application to a broad range of clinical and basic research applications.

Public Health Relevance

Functional neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI have opened a new frontier in efforts to investigate and understand the neural mechanisms of normal and abnormal cognition. However, the rapidly expanding scope of the literature makes distillation and synthesis of brain imaging findings increasingly challenging. The goal of this project is to develop a new software platform for automated aggregation, synthesis, and sharing of published neuroimaging results, with the potential to advance understanding of mechanisms underlying mental health disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (NOIT)
Program Officer
Freund, Michelle
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Colorado at Boulder
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
de la Vega, Alejandro; Yarkoni, Tal; Wager, Tor D et al. (2018) Large-scale Meta-analysis Suggests Low Regional Modularity in Lateral Frontal Cortex. Cereb Cortex 28:3414-3428
Rubin, Timothy N; Koyejo, Oluwasanmi; Gorgolewski, Krzysztof J et al. (2017) Decoding brain activity using a large-scale probabilistic functional-anatomical atlas of human cognition. PLoS Comput Biol 13:e1005649
Poldrack, Russell A; Baker, Chris I; Durnez, Joke et al. (2017) Scanning the horizon: towards transparent and reproducible neuroimaging research. Nat Rev Neurosci 18:115-126
Cremers, Henk R; Wager, Tor D; Yarkoni, Tal (2017) The relation between statistical power and inference in fMRI. PLoS One 12:e0184923
Yarkoni, Tal; Westfall, Jacob (2017) Choosing Prediction Over Explanation in Psychology: Lessons From Machine Learning. Perspect Psychol Sci 12:1100-1122
Gilmore, Rick O; Diaz, Michele T; Wyble, Brad A et al. (2017) Progress toward openness, transparency, and reproducibility in cognitive neuroscience. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1396:5-18
Gorgolewski, Krzysztof J; Alfaro-Almagro, Fidel; Auer, Tibor et al. (2017) BIDS apps: Improving ease of use, accessibility, and reproducibility of neuroimaging data analysis methods. PLoS Comput Biol 13:e1005209
McKiernan, Erin C; Bourne, Philip E; Brown, C Titus et al. (2016) How open science helps researchers succeed. Elife 5:
Poldrack, Russell A; Yarkoni, Tal (2016) From Brain Maps to Cognitive Ontologies: Informatics and the Search for Mental Structure. Annu Rev Psychol 67:587-612
Cohen, K Bretonnel; Baumgartner Jr, William A; Temnikova, Irina (2016) SuperCAT: The (New and Improved) Corpus Analysis Toolkit. LREC Int Conf Lang Resour Eval 2016:2784-2788

Showing the most recent 10 out of 28 publications