A kurtosis-based wavelet algorithm for motion artifact correction of fNIRS data

Antonio M. Chiarelli, Edward L. Maclin, Monica Fabiani, Gabriele Gratton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Movements are a major source of artifacts in functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). Several algorithms have been developed for motion artifact correction of fNIRS data, including Principal Component Analysis (PCA), targeted Principal Component Analysis (tPCA), Spline Interpolation (SI), and Wavelet Filtering (WF). WF is based on removing wavelets with coefficients deemed to be outliers based on their standardized scores, and it has proven to be effective on both synthetized and real data. However, when the SNR is high, it can lead to a reduction of signal amplitude. This may occur because standardized scores inherently adapt to the noise level, independently of the shape of the distribution of the wavelet coefficients. Higher-order moments of the wavelet coefficient distribution may provide a more diagnostic index of wavelet distribution abnormality than its variance. Here we introduce a new procedure that relies on eliminating wavelets that contribute to generate a large fourth-moment (i.e., kurtosis) of the coefficient distribution to define "outliers" wavelets (kurtosis-based Wavelet Filtering, kbWF). We tested kbWF by comparing it with other existing procedures, using simulated functional hemodynamic responses added to real resting-state fNIRS recordings. These simulations show that kbWF is highly effective in eliminating transient noise, yielding results with higher SNR than other existing methods over a wide range of signal and noise amplitudes. This is because: (1) the procedure is iterative; and (2) kurtosis is more diagnostic than variance in identifying outliers. However, kbWF does not eliminate slow components of artifacts whose duration is comparable to the total recording time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-137
Number of pages10
StatePublished - May 5 2015


  • Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)
  • Kurtosis
  • Motion artifacts
  • Wavelet filtering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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