fMRI experiment preparation

Dear all,

I’m a beginner with fMRI and I have learned from scratch using online sparse resources. Before participating in clinical cases with the radiology department of my hospital, I would like to perform a dummy study just for testing what I have learnt. So I will answer you a couple of doubts, I hope you can kindly help me.

I would like to perform a categorical differential study, since it looks the easiest study that allows me to try many statistical tests. Since we have not any hardware for visual or auditive functional experiments, I would like to give to the volunteers a liquid product that likes a lot (i.e. coca-cola), and other similar one which dislikes in my country (i.e. cherry coke, correcting the amount of sugar). I would like to compare the effects in a reduced group of volunteers (i.e. 5). I will use SPM since it is the tool used in my hospital.

I have two questions:

  1. Is there a tool for Matlab that I can I use to design an efficient pattern of stimulus?
  2. Which statistical tests should I use? If I use the canonical+derivates response functions (apart from the nuisance regressors), is a t-test on [1, 0, 0, -1, 0, 0] an appropriate contrast for the first level? and, for a random effect study on the second level, which test should I perform to the contrast images of the first level?

Thank you very much in advance.