OpenfMRI has been deprecated. For new and up to date datasets please use

Old dataset pages are available at

Behavioral interventions for reducing head motion during MRI scans in children

A major limitation to structural and functional MRI (fMRI) scans is their susceptibility to head motion artifacts. Even submillimeter movements can systematically distort functional connectivity, morphometric, and diffusion imaging results. In patient care, sedation is often used to minimize head motion, but it incurs increased costs and risks. In research settings, sedation is typically not an ethical option. Therefore, safe methods that reduce head motion are critical for improving MRI quality, especially in high movement individuals such as children and neuropsychiatric patients. We investigated the effects of (1) viewing movies and (2) receiving real-time visual feedback about head movement in 24 children (5-15 years old). Children completed fMRI scans during which they viewed a fixation cross (i.e., rest) or a cartoon movie clip, and during some of the scans they also received real-time visual feedback about head motion. Head motion was significantly reduced during movie watching compared to rest and when receiving feedback compared to receiving no feedback. However, these results depended largely on age, such that the effects were driven by the younger children. Children older than 10 years showed no significant benefit. We also found that viewing movies significantly altered the functional connectivity of fMRI data, suggesting that fMRI scans during movies cannot be equated to standard resting-state fMRI scans.

The implications of these results are twofold:

(1) given the reduction in head motion with behavioral interventions, these methods should be tried first for all clinical and structural MRIs in lieu of sedation; and (2) for fMRI research scans, these methods can reduce head motion in certain groups, but investigators must keep in mind the effects on functional MRI data.


  • Nico U.F. Dosenbach
  • Damien A. Fair
  • Bradley L. Schlaggar
  • Steven E. Petersen
  • Joshua S. Shimony
  • Rachel L. Klein
  • Eric A. Earl
  • Lindsey McIntyre
  • Catherine R. Hoyt
  • Annie L. Nguyen
  • Andrew N. Van
  • Victoria Wesevich
  • Jacqueline M. Hampton
  • Jonathan M. Koller
  • Deanna J. Greene

Contact Information:

Name: Deanna Greene

Acknowledgements and Funding:

This paper linked to this dataset was supported by the Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health/NIH (ZIAMH002920; NCT01031407) and by the Sackler Institute for Developmental Neurobiology (JDP). MRC P008747/1 supported data collection.

External Publication Links:

Behavioral interventions for reducing head motion during MRI scans in children

Sample Size:


Scanner Type:

Siemens Tim Trio 3T MAGNETOM



Accession Number:


How to cite this dataset:

In addition to any citation requirements in the dataset summary please use the following to cite this dataset:

This data was obtained from the OpenfMRI database. Its accession number is ds000256



Browse Data For All Revisions on S3

Direct Links to data:

Revision: 1.0.0 Date Set: Jan. 19, 2018, 9:14 p.m.


- Initial release