Effect of surgical mask on fMRI signals during task and rest

Benjamin Klugah-Brown, Yue Yu, Peng Hu, Elijah Agoalikum, Congcong Liu, Xiqin Liu, Xi Yang, Yixu Zeng, Xinqi Zhou, Xin Yu, Bart Rypma, Andrew M. Michael, Xiaobo Li, Benjamin Becker, Bharat Biswal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Wearing a face mask has become essential to contain the spread of COVID-19 and has become mandatory when collecting fMRI data at most research institutions. Here, we investigate the effects of wearing a surgical mask on fMRI data in n = 37 healthy participants. Activations during finger tapping, emotional face matching, working memory tasks, and rest were examined. Preliminary fMRI analyses show that despite the different mask states, resting-state signals and task activations were relatively similar. Resting-state functional connectivity showed negligible attenuation patterns in mask-on compared with mask-off. Task-based ROI analysis also demonstrated no significant difference between the two mask states under each contrast investigated. Notwithstanding the overall insignificant effects, these results indicate that wearing a face mask during fMRI has little to no significant effect on resting-state and task activations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1004
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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