fMRI Analysis for Beginners

by Dr Matt Wall

About the course

Functional MRI (fMRI) is now a fundamental method in cognitive neuroscience but is still a technically challenging and complex endeavour. This session provides a very brief and introductory overview of the practical aspects of fMRI research. Necessary background and theoretical concepts are briefly covered, but the main focus is on understanding the steps involved in the analysis of a simple cognitive task scan. This session assumes no previous experience with fMRI and attempts to make the content accessible for beginners. The first half (roughly 1 hour) is lecture-style content, while the second half includes a live demonstration of a basic analysis with the open-source FSL software.

About the speaker

Dr Matt Wall completed his PhD in Cambridge, then did post-doctoral positions at Royal Holloway and UCL before selling out and moving into the private sector. He currently works for Invicro, a global imaging company that provides research services for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. His research interests have meandered around somewhat, taking in cognitive psychology, visual psychophysics, pain, psychopharmacology, psychedelics, addiction, neuroendocrinology, and methods development, but all focussed around the use of fMRI. His current collaborative projects involve giving teenagers cannabis and showing women pornography, as well as a number of commercial studies, and ongoing methodological work.

Further Resources

Course slides:

Click here!


Oxford Neuroimaging Primers

Poldrack, R. A., Mumford, J. A., & Nichols, T. E. (2011). Handbook of functional MRI data analysis. Cambridge University Press.


Logothetis, N. K. (2008). What we can do and what we cannot do with fMRI. Nature, 453(7197), 869-878.

Soares, J. M., Magalhães, R., Moreira, P. S., Sousa, A., Ganz, E., Sampaio, A., … & Sousa, N. (2016). A hitchhiker’s guide to functional magnetic resonance imaging. Frontiers in neuroscience, 10, 515.

Additional courses and tutorials:

FSL course – includes all materials, sample data, practical exercises, and course videos.

SPM course – includes all materials and videos available online.

…and of course Matt’s Twitter page: