MOTOR SYSTEMSMotor imagery of voluntary coughing: a functional MRI study using a support vector machineSzameitat, André J.a; Raabe, Markusb; Müller, Hermann J.a; Greenlee, Mark W.b; Mourão-Miranda, Janainac d ; The NCP StudentsAuthor Information aDepartment of Psychology, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich bDepartment of Psychology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg and Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, Dortmund, Germany cCentre for Computational Statistics and Machine Learning, UCL dCentre for Neuroimaging Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK Correspondence to Dr André J. Szameitat, Department of Psychology, Ludwig Maximilians University, Leopoldstrasse 13, Munich 80802, Germany Tel: +49 89 2180 6778; fax: +49 89 2180 4866; e-mail: [email protected] Received 3 May 2010 accepted 22 July 2010 This study was carried out as part of a course of the International Masters program Neurocognitive Psychology at the Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich (www.psy.lmu.de/ncp). The NCP students contributed significantly to design, data acquisition, and analysis of the study: Patricia Graf, Dominique Goltz, Michael Hegenloh, Kathrin Herbst, Nicholas Myers, Magdolna Tardy, Marco Schmidt, Katharina Seidl, Alexander Soutschek, Elena Tsankova, Marcin Leszczynski. K. Seidl, and D. Goltz programed the experiment. NeuroReport: October 27, 2010 - Volume 21 - Issue 15 - p 980-984 doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32833e926f Buy Metrics Abstract Investigating respiratory acts using motor imagery has the advantage that motion artifacts are much less likely to occur. To test whether motor imagery of voluntary coughing shows similar spatiotemporal activity patterns as compared to overt coughing, 12 participants underwent functional MRI scanning performing both tasks. We analyzed the data using a pattern classifier, that is, a support vector machine. Results showed that during imagined coughing, a number of brain areas reported previously to be involved in respiration showed more similarity in their spatiotemporal activity patterns with overt coughing than with a resting baseline. We conclude that motor imagery can be a suitable paradigm to investigate respiration, and that support vector machine analysis is potentially more sensitive and specific than a standard univariate analysis. © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.