What is StudyForrest?

The human brain processes vast amounts of diverse input that are continuously gathered across the senses. However, most experiments study the brain via simplified stimuli that do little to resemble the complexity of a natural environment — a mismatch that must be addressed if we are to better understand how the brain works.

This project centers around the use of the movie Forrest Gump, which provides complex sensory input that is both reproducible and is also richly laden with real-life-like content and contexts.

Since its initial release, the StudyForrest dataset has grown and been extended substantially, and now encompasses many hours of fMRI scans, structural brain scans, eye-tracking data, and extensive annotations of the movie. Explore the Data Page to more closely examine the data we have available.

How Can You Use It?

Neuroscience Researchers

This is a one-of-a-kind resource for studying high-level cognition in the human brain under complex, natural stimulation. Furthermore, the versatility of the provided data (some individuals have nearly ten hours of fMRI data) enables studies far beyond this main focus. This covers a vast range from studies of low-level signal properties and brain structure, to sensory integration and attentional processes, to computational modeling of representational spaces and brain area interactions. Take a look the List of Publications to get inspired.

Scientific Developers

The StudyForrest project provides ideal reference datasets for brain imaging. It's a comprehensive, modular, multi-modal, real-world dataset — making it an optimal choice when benchmarking algorithms or comparing implementations across projects.

Liberally licensed (PDDL) and hosted across many different services (OpenNeuro, GIN, etc) with fine-grained access options, the StudyForrest dataset is easily accessible and is ready to be integrated into your CI infrastructure.

Everyone — and You

Not keen on brain research? This project still has something to offer to you! Our effort to analyze the structure of the movie Forrest Gump and annotate its properties greatly expands the breadth of topics that can be explored. Check out the Data Page for more specifics.

What we're most interested in is applications and inquiries that we have not anticipated — both within the field of neuroscience and beyond. So please, invent applications and explore ideas you have that we aren't even aware of... and do tell us about them!

How are People Using It?

The StudyForrest dataset has been used in over two dozen studies to investigate particular research questions or to validate novel tools and algorithms.

[…] we use fMRI activity evoked by an emotionally charged movie and continuous ratings of the perceived emotion intensity to reveal the topographic organization of affective states.
Lettieri et al., Nature Comm., 2019
[…] high replicability in region-of-interest […] analyses is essential for […] biomarkers of good health or disease. […] A critical analysis of cortical parcellation protocols from FreeSurfer, BrainSuite, BrainVISA and BrainGyrusMapping revealed major limitations.
Mikhael et al., NeuroImage, 2018
[…] We reveal here that hippocampal activity measured by fMRI during film watching is both sensitive and specific to event boundaries, identifying a potential mechanism whereby event boundaries shape experience by modulation of hippocampal activity.
Ben-Yakov & Henson, J Neuroscience, 2018
[…] magnetic resonance advection imaging might have future potential to contribute to the modeling of the cerebrovascular system and to serve as a biomarker for cerebrovascular disease.
Voss et al., Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 2016
This also opens the door for the identification of shared and individual [brain] responses […] to assess the degree to which functional topography is shared across subjects. We posit that this technique can be adapted to examine an array of situations where group differences are the key experimental variable.
Chen et al, NIPS, 2015