Hemodynamic response function (HRF) has played an important role in many recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) based brain studies where the main focus is to investigate the relationship between stimuli and the neural activity. Standard statistical analysis of fMRI data usually calls for a “canonical” model of HRF, but it is uncertain how well this fits the actual HRF. The objective of this paper is to exploit the experimental designs by modeling the stimulus sequences using stochastic point processes. The identification of the stimulus-response relationship will be conducted in the frequency domain, which will be facilitated by fast Fourier transforms (FFT). The usefulness of this approach will be illustrated using both simulated and real human brain data. Under regularity conditions, it is shown that the estimated HRF possesses an asymptotic normal distribution.
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/09-LNMS5712