Background: A universal unanswered question in neuroscience and machine learning is whether computers can decode the patterns of the human brain. Multi-Voxels Pattern Analysis (MVPA) is a critical tool for addressing this question. However, there are two challenges in the previous MVPA methods, which include decreasing sparsity and noise in the extracted features and increasing the performance of prediction. Methods: In overcoming mentioned challenges, this paper proposes Anatomical Pattern Analysis (APA) for decoding visual stimuli in the human brain. This framework develops a novel anatomical feature extraction method and a new imbalance AdaBoost algorithm for binary classification. Further, it utilizes an Error-Correcting Output Codes (ECOC) method for multiclass prediction. APA can automatically detect active regions for each category of the visual stimuli. Moreover, it enables us to combine homogeneous datasets for applying advanced classification. Results and Conclusions: Experimental studies on 4 visual categories (words, consonants, objects and scrambled photos) demonstrate that the proposed approach achieves superior performance to state-of-the-art methods.
Multivariate Pattern (MVP) classification holds enormous potential for decoding visual stimuli in the human brain by employing task-based fMRI data sets. There is a wide range of challenges in the MVP techniques, i.e. decreasing noise and sparsity, defining effective regions of interest (ROIs), visualizing results, and the cost of brain studies. In overcoming these challenges, this paper proposes a novel model of neural representation, which can automatically detect the active regions for each visual stimulus and then utilize these anatomical regions for visualizing and analyzing the functional activities. Therefore, this model provides an opportunity for neuroscientists to ask this question: what is the effect of a stimulus on each of the detected regions instead of just study the fluctuation of voxels in the manually selected ROIs. Moreover, our method introduces analyzing snapshots of brain image for decreasing sparsity rather than using the whole of fMRI time series. Further, a new Gaussian smoothing method is proposed for removing noise of voxels in the level of ROIs. The proposed method enables us to combine different fMRI data sets for reducing the cost of brain studies. Experimental studies on 4 visual categories (words, consonants, objects and nonsense photos) confirm that the proposed method achieves superior performance to state-of-the-art methods.
Multivariate Pattern (MVP) classification can map different cognitive states to the brain tasks. One of the main challenges in MVP analysis is validating the generated results across subjects. However, analyzing multi-subject fMRI data requires accurate functional alignments between neuronal activities of different subjects, which can rapidly increase the performance and robustness of the final results. Hyperalignment (HA) is one of the most effective functional alignment methods, which can be mathematically formulated by the Canonical Correlation Analysis (CCA) methods. Since HA mostly uses the unsupervised CCA techniques, its solution may not be optimized for MVP analysis. By incorporating the idea of Local Discriminant Analysis (LDA) into CCA, this paper proposes Local Discriminant Hyperalignment (LDHA) as a novel supervised HA method, which can provide better functional alignment for MVP analysis. Indeed, the locality is defined based on the stimuli categories in the train-set, where the correlation between all stimuli in the same category will be maximized and the correlation between distinct categories of stimuli approaches to near zero. Experimental studies on multi-subject MVP analysis confirm that the LDHA method achieves superior performance to other state-of-the-art HA algorithms.
Representational Similarity Analysis (RSA) aims to explore similarities between neural activities of different stimuli. Classical RSA techniques employ the inverse of the covariance matrix to explore a linear model between the neural activities and task events. However, calculating the inverse of a large-scale covariance matrix is time-consuming and can reduce the stability and robustness of the final analysis. Notably, it becomes severe when the number of samples is too large. For facing this shortcoming, this paper proposes a novel RSA method called gradient-based RSA (GRSA). Moreover, the proposed method is not restricted to a linear model. In fact, there is a growing interest in finding more effective ways of using multi-subject and whole-brain fMRI data. Searchlight technique can extend RSA from the localized brain regions to the whole-brain regions with smaller memory footprint in each process. Based on Searchlight, we propose a new method called Spatiotemporal Searchlight GRSA (SSL-GRSA) that generalizes our ROI-based GRSA algorithm to the whole-brain data. Further, our approach can handle some computational challenges while dealing with large-scale, multi-subject fMRI data. Experimental studies on multi-subject datasets confirm that both proposed approaches achieve superior performance to other state-of-the-art RSA algorithms.
Imaging neuroscience links brain activation maps to behavior and cognition via correlational studies. Due to the nature of the individual experiments, based on eliciting neural response from a small number of stimuli, this link is incomplete, and unidirectional from the causal point of view. To come to conclusions on the function implied by the activation of brain regions, it is necessary to combine a wide exploration of the various brain functions and some inversion of the statistical inference. Here we introduce a methodology for accumulating knowledge towards a bidirectional link between observed brain activity and the corresponding function. We rely on a large corpus of imaging studies and a predictive engine. Technically, the challenges are to find commonality between the studies without denaturing the richness of the corpus. The key elements that we contribute are labeling the tasks performed with a cognitive ontology, and modeling the long tail of rare paradigms in the corpus. To our knowledge, our approach is the first demonstration of predicting the cognitive content of completely new brain images. To that end, we propose a method that predicts the experimental paradigms across different studies.