We have evaluated eight different similarity measures used for rigid body registration of serial magnetic resonance (MR) brain scans. To assess their accuracy we used 33 clinical three-dimensional (3-D) serial MR images, with deformable extradural tissue excluded by manual segmentation and simulated 3-D MR images with added intensity distortion. For each measure we determined the consistency of registration transformations for both sets of segmented and unsegmented data. We have shown that of the eight measures tested, the ones based on joint entropy produced the best consistency. In particular, these measures seemed to be least sensitive to the presence of extradural tissue. For these data the difference in accuracy of these joint entropy measures, with or without brain segmentation, was within the threshold of visually detectable change in the difference images.