(R)-[11C]PK11195 has been used for quantifying cerebral microglial activation in vivo. In previous studies, both plasma input and reference tissue methods have been used, usually in combination with a region of interest (ROI) approach. Definition of ROIs, however, can be labourious and prone to interobserver variation. In addition, results are only obtained for predefined areas and (unexpected) signals in undefined areas may be missed. On the other hand, standard pharmacokinetic models are too sensitive to noise to calculate (R)-[11C]PK11195 binding on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Linearised versions of both plasma input and reference tissue models have been described, and these are more suitable for parametric imaging. The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of these plasma input and reference tissue parametric methods on the outcome of statistical parametric mapping (SPM) analysis of (R)-[11C]PK11195 binding. Dynamic (R)-[11C]PK11195 PET scans with arterial blood sampling were performed in 7 younger and 11 elderly healthy subjects. Parametric images of volume of distribution (Vd) and binding potential (BP) were generated using linearised versions of plasma input (Logan) and reference tissue (Reference Parametric Mapping) models. Images were compared at the group level using SPM with a two-sample t-test per voxel, both with and without proportional scaling. Parametric BP images without scaling provided the most sensitive framework for determining differences in (R)-[11C]PK11195 binding between younger and elderly subjects. Vd images could only demonstrate differences in (R)-[11C]PK11195 binding when analysed with proportional scaling due to intersubject variation in K1/k2 (blood-brain barrier transport and non-specific binding).