Useful Papers - Mental Chronometry
Summary: A thorough review of current advances in mental chronometry with fMRI. Formisano & Goebel clearly lay out the objectives of chronometric experiments and the major hurdles with fMRI (heterogeneity of BOLD response, accuracy of estimates, etc.) and discuss some potential optimization steps; they also present the results of a couple recent studies.
Summary: The first article directly addressing mental chronometry with fMRI. Menon et. al investigate some of the necessary assumptions - such as the accuracy of relative timing between areas and present some early results tracking information from visual to motor areas.
Summary: The more intelligible part in a two-part manifesto. Liu expands on his 2001 paper (see DesignPapers) to demonstrate the tradeoff betwen efficiency and power is fundamental for multiple-trial-type experiments. Crucially, he also explores what specific experimental designs bring you closest to the theoretical best power for a given efficiency (or vice versa). Permuted block designs look like great happy mediums.
Summary: Perhaps the best early defense of variable-ISI studies; Dale attempts to end the debate between long event-related designs and rapid event-related designs by showing the variable-ISI designs tremendously improve on the power of rapid designs. A mathematical argument about statistical efficiency is used to show that random-ISI (i.e., jittered) designs can outperform fixed-ISI designs for the same mean ISI by more than a factor of 10.
Summary: Another look at which designs make the most sense - block, fixed-ISI, or variable-ISI (connected to the "stochastic" design idea). Authors make the point that the best type of design will depend very heavily on what type of effect you're looking for - differential effects between conditions do best with a different design than do evoked responses changing from baseline.