Main Article Content
For functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, researchers can use multi-subject blocked designs to identify active brain regions for a certain stimulus type of interest. Before performing such an experiment, careful planning is necessary to obtain efficient stimulus effect estimators within the available financial resources. The optimal number of subjects and the optimal scanning time for a multi-subject blocked design with fixed experimental costs can be determined using optimal design methods. In this paper, the user-friendly computer program POBE 1.2 (program for optimal design of blocked experiments, version 1.2) is presented. POBE provides a graphical user interface for fMRI researchers to easily and efficiently design their experiments. The computer program POBE calculates the optimal number of subjects and the optimal scanning time for user specified experimental factors and model parameters so that the statistical efficiency is maximised for a given study budget. POBE can also be used to determine the minimum budget for a given power. Furthermore, a maximin design can be determined as efficient design for a possible range of values for the unknown model parameters. In this paper, the computer program is described and illustrated with typical experimental factors for a blocked fMRI experiment.