SPM Smoothing: A Reader Writes

The angry red pustule of the Gaussian normal distribution
I love questions, because questions get answers. One question you may be asking is, "Why are my smoothness estimates in SPM so whack?" To which the obvious response is, "How much whack are we talking about here? Whiggidy-whack, or just the regular kind?" Details matter.

If the former, then the following code snippet may help. In the absence of a gold standard for calculating smoothness estimates, often we have to resort to our own ingenuity and cunning, by which I mean: Copy what other people are doing. One alert reader, Tamara, noticed that the standard SPM function for estimating smoothness, spm_est_smoothness, is so whack that all the other SPM functions want nothing to do with it. Which is kind of the goal of life, when you think about it - to not be that guy everyone else wants to avoid.

In any case, if you are having issues with it, the following code may help. I've also included the rest of the email, just to make you aware that I can and will publish your correspondence without your consent.

Hi Andy, I never figured out why spm_est_smoothness is not working, although other people have had the same issue with getting estimates in the thousands.  Ultimately, I ended up using this simple code to estimate each individual's smoothness, and then averaged across subjects.  Jim Lee posted this on the SPM listserv along with this note:  
The smoothness estimates in SPM.xVol.FWHM are in units of VOXELS, so you need to multiply by the voxel dimensions to get them in mm. Something like this:
load SPM.mat; M = SPM.xVol.M; VOX = sqrt(diag(M(1:3,1:3)'*M(1:3,1:3)))'; FWHM = SPM.xVol.FWHM; FWHMmm= FWHM.*VOX; disp(FWHMmm);

Thanks again for your help!!