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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 796183, 9 pages
Review Article

Examining Similarity Structure: Multidimensional Scaling and Related Approaches in Neuroimaging

Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA

Received 6 December 2012; Accepted 19 March 2013

Academic Editor: Yuanqing Li

Copyright © 2013 Svetlana V. Shinkareva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper covers similarity analyses, a subset of multivariate pattern analysis techniques that are based on similarity spaces defined by multivariate patterns. These techniques offer several advantages and complement other methods for brain data analyses, as they allow for comparison of representational structure across individuals, brain regions, and data acquisition methods. Particular attention is paid to multidimensional scaling and related approaches that yield spatial representations or provide methods for characterizing individual differences. We highlight unique contributions of these methods by reviewing recent applications to functional magnetic resonance imaging data and emphasize areas of caution in applying and interpreting similarity analysis methods.