[FieldTrip] Cluster-based permutation tests on time-frequency and size of conditions

Martina Rossi martina.rossi76 at yahoo.it
Thu Mar 19 09:06:47 CET 2015

Dear Stephen and Joram,
Thank so much for your feedback,I will check out the suggested material,

     Il Mercoledì 18 Marzo 2015 20:43, Stephen Whitmarsh <stephen.whitmarsh at gmail.com> ha scritto:

 You can also check out this video of Robert. Apologies for the quality - not of the talk, but of the recording :-)

At 14:45 he actually mentions unequal number of trials between conditions.



On 18 March 2015 at 19:33, Stephen Whitmarsh <stephen.whitmarsh at gmail.com> wrote:

I should add that (1) is typically done within subjects, and (2) over subjects.


On 18 March 2015 at 19:20, Stephen Whitmarsh <stephen.whitmarsh at gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Martina,

It might help to distinguish two aspects of cluster-based statistic.

1) the statistical approuch that you will use to determine whether a time-channel-datapoint / time-frequency-channel-datapoint / time-frequency-voxel-datapoint is considered significant different between conditions.
2) the statistical approuch that you will use to determine whether a cluster of time-channel-datapoints / time-frequency-channel-datapoints / time-frequency-voxel-datapoints is considered significantly different between conditions.
When you talk about cluster statistics, you probably think about the second part. But this might not be what you should initially be concerned with when thinking about e.g. different numbers of trials between conditions. Rather, consider what statistical tests you (can) use to compare your time-frequency values between conditions (within subjects). This can be, e.g., a t-test, a nonparametric (e.g. montecarlo) test, or any test, for that matter. As far as my limited knowledge of statistics goes, in most simple and non-extreme cases, unequal number of trials that does not have to increase your chance of type I errors, rather that of type 2 (you'll be insensitive to differences if you don't have enough observations in one condition due to noisy estimate of means/distribution). But in any case it's a simple question to google or ask a statistician.

Now, after you are happy with and confident about the between conditions statistical test, consider how the cluster statistics might help you. 
First of all, how does it determine whether a cluster is significantly different between conditions? There are different options, but the gist is that it takes your significant statistical numbers of step (1), adds them up when they belong to the same cluster (based on whether they are neigbourings in time/freq/space with other significant numbers), takes the maximum of these summed up clusters (there might be more than one cluster), and then compares this one value to the same taken from a(non-parametric) monte-carlo distribution of the null hypothesis based on permuting the values over conditions (and then calculating the maximum sum). The Maris and Oostenveld paper explains it in more detail. 

The reason for doing cluster-statistics is that its a smart way of dealing with multiple comparisons over many time x frequency x channels (or space). The method is blind for your decisions about how its computed for each point in time x frequency x channels (or space). 

I find the FieldTrip statistics functions, their configurations etc., and the way they interact confusing at times, but I hope this helps to clear it up a bit. 

Long story short - I think your question does not limit itself to cluster statistics and at the same time is much simpler. It's all about (1).  

Best wishes,

There are two separate steps cluster statistics (as implemented in FieldTrip, but in general as well).

On 18 March 2015 at 14:51, Joram van Driel <joramvandriel at gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Martina,
In general, I'd advice to do some kind of trial-selection procedure when comparing error versus correct trials, in order to trial-count-match the two conditions. Otherwise you run into problems considering: SNR (higher for the correct condition), and RT (errors are usually faster, resulting in a time-on-task confound). What I always do is pick from the correct condition a similar number of trials that are close to the RT distribution of the error trials (i.e. the faster correct trials). That way you solve both problems at once (and probably the cluster-based permutation test in field trip will work as well, as a bonus ;)).
On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 2:31 PM, Martina Rossi <martina.rossi76 at yahoo.it> wrote:

Dear All,
I would like to get some feedback from the community about a statistical analysis problem I need to tackle with my study.I want to apply the cluster-based permutation tests on time-frequency data considering two conditions (correct vs error).Unfortunately, these two conditions have different sizes (correct >> error).Right now, I am only considering subjects having a ratio "error/correct" bigger than 1/5, yet this is only an arbitrary threshold I set.The question is the following:is there a formal way to identify a threshold by which two conditions can be realiably compared with the cluster-based permutation tests?If the cluster-based approach is not suitable in this scenario, is there any other approach you would suggest?I shall perhaps point out that I am working on EEG data recorded with a 32 channel system (impedance levels < 10 kΩ).
Looking forward to hear your feedback :)
Kind Regards,Martina Rossi

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Joram van DrielPostdoc @ Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamCognitive Psychology

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