Article ID: CBB584088672

Registration Pluralism and the Cartographic Approach to Data Aggregation across Brains (2022)


Neuroscience has become increasingly reliant on multi-subject research in addition to studies of unusual single patients. This research has brought with it a challenge: how are data from different human brains to be combined? The dominant strategy for aggregating data across brains is what I call the ‘cartographic approach’, which involves mapping data from individuals to a spatial template. Here I characterize the cartographic approach and argue that one of its key steps, registration, should be carried out in a way that is sensitive to the target of investigation. Because registration aims to align homologous brain locations, but not all homologous locations can be simultaneously aligned, a multiplicity of registration methods is required to meet the needs of researchers investigating different phenomena. I call this position ‘registration pluralism’. Registration pluralism has potential implications for neuroscientific practice, three of which I discuss here. This work shows the importance of reflecting more carefully on data aggregation methods, especially in light of the substantial individual differences that exist between brains.

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Authors & Contributors
Eling, Paul
York, George K.
Gross, Charles G.
Gross, Alan G.
Steinberg, David A.
Draaisma, Douwe
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Medicina Historica
History of Psychology
MIT Press
Oxford University Press
Plural Publishing, Inc.
Brain localization
Broca, Paul
Chomsky, Noam
Jacobs, Aletta
Gall, Franz Joseph
Hitzig, Eduard
Fritsch, Gustav
19th century
21st century
20th century
20th century, late
20th century, early

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