We consider between-subject variance in brain function as data rather than noise. We describe variability as a natural output of a noisy plastic system (the brain) where each subject embodies a particular parameterisation of that system. In this context, variability becomes an opportunity to: (i) better characterise typical versus atypical brain functions; (ii) reveal the different cognitive strategies and processing networks that can sustain similar tasks; and (iii) predict recovery capacity after brain damage by taking into account both damaged and spared processing pathways. This has many ramifications for understanding individual learning preferences and explaining the wide differences in human abilities and disabilities. Understanding variability boosts the translational potential of neuroimaging findings, in particular in clinical and educational neuroscience.
Seghier, M. L., & Price, C. J. (2018, June 1). Interpreting and Utilising Intersubject Variability in Brain Function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2018.03.003