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Effectively minimizing head motion continues to be a challenge for the collection of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. The development of individual-specific custom molded headcases have been offered as a promising solution to minimizing motion during data collection, but to date, only a single published investigation into their efficacy exists in the literature. That study found headcases to be effective in reducing motion during short resting state fMRI scans (Power et al, 2019). In the present work, we examine the efficacy of these same headcases in reducing motion for a larger group of participants engaged in naturalistic scanning paradigms that consist of long movie-watching scans (~20-45min), as well as speaking aloud inside the MRI. Unlike previous work, we find no reliable reduction in head motion during movie viewing when comparing participants with headcases to those who were simply situated with foam pillows or foam pillows with medical tape. Surprisingly, we also find that for those wearing headcases, head motion is worse while talking relative to those situated with just foam pillows. These differences appear to be driven by large brief rotations of the head as well as translations in the z-plane as participants speak. Smaller, constant head movements appear equivalent with or without headcases. The largest reductions in head motion are observable when participants were situated with both foam pillows and medical tape, consistent with recent work by Kraus and colleagues (2019). Altogether, this work suggests that in a non-clinical, non-developmental population, custom-molded headcases may provide limited efficacy in reducing head motion beyond existing tools available to researchers. We hope this work can help improve the quality of custom headcases, motivate the investigation of additional solutions, as well as help researchers make more informed decisions about their data acquisition procedures.
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