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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2008, Article ID 167078, 7 pages
Research Article

Resurrecting Brinley Plots for a Novel Use: Meta-Analyses of Functional Brain Imaging Data in Older Adults

Department of Radiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, PP1 - 7th Floor, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA

Received 29 March 2007; Accepted 25 August 2007

Academic Editor: Oury Monchi

Copyright © 2008 Ann M. Peiffer 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.


By plotting response times of young and older adults across a variety of tasks, Brinley spurred investigation and debate into the theory of general cognitive slowing. Though controversial, Brinley plots can assess between-task differences, the impact of increasing task demand, and the relationship between responses in two groups of subjects. Since a relationship exists between response times and the blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal of functional MRI (fMRI), Brinley's plotting method could be applied as a meta-analysis tool in fMRI studies of aging. Here, fledgling “Peiffer plots” are discussed for their potential impact on understanding general cognitive brain activity in aging. Preliminary results suggest that general cognitive slowing may be localized at the sensorimotor transformation in the precentral gyrus. Although this meta-analysis method is naturally used with imaging studies of aging, theoretically it may be applied to other study pairs (e.g., schizophrenic versus normal) or imaging datasets (e.g., PET).