In a recent study, Eklund et al. employed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data as a surrogate for null functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) datasets and posited that cluster-wise family-wise error (FWE) rate-corrected inferences made by using parametric statistical methods in fMRI studies over the past two decades may have been invalid, particularly for cluster defining thresholds less stringent than p < 0.001; this was principally because the spatial autocorrelation functions (sACF) of fMRI data had been modeled incorrectly to follow a Gaussian form, whereas empirical data suggested otherwise. Here, we show that accounting for non-Gaussian signal components such as those arising from resting-state neural activity as well as physiological responses and motion artifacts in the null fMRI datasets yields first- and second-level general linear model analysis residuals with nearly uniform and Gaussian sACF. Further comparison with nonparametric permutation tests indicates that cluster-based FWE corrected inferences made with Gaussian spatial noise approximations are valid.
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