A parametric method is proposed to examine the relationship between neuronal activity, measured with event related potentials (ERPs), and the hemodynamic response, observed with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), during an auditory oddball paradigm. After verifying that the amplitude of the evoked response P300 increases as the probability of oddball target presentation decreases, we explored the corresponding effect of target frequency on the fMRI signal. We predicted and confirmed that some regions that showed activation changes following each oddball are affected by the rate of presentation of the oddballs, or the probability of an oddball target. We postulated that those regions that increased activation with decreasing probability might be responsible for the corresponding changes in the P300 amplitude. fMRI regions that correlated with the amplitude of the P300 wave were supramarginal gyri, thalamus, insula and right medial frontal gyrus, and are presumably sources of the P300 wave. Other regions, such as anterior and posterior cingulate cortex, were activated during the oddball paradigm but their fMRI signal changes were not correlated with the P300 amplitudes. This study thus shows how combining fMRI and ERP in a parametric design identifies task-relevant sources of activity and allows separation of regions that have different response properties.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Inc.