Multivariate supervised learning methods exhibit a remarkable ability to decode externally driven sensory, behavioral, and cognitive states from functional neuroimaging data. Although they are typically applied to task-based analyses, supervised learning methods are equally applicable to intrinsic effective and functional connectivity analyses. The obtained models of connectivity incorporate the multivariate interactions between all brain regions simultaneously, which will result in a more accurate representation of the connectome than the ones available with standard bivariate methods. Additionally the models can be applied to decode or predict the time series of intrinsic brain activity of a region from an independent dataset. The obtained prediction accuracy provides a measure of the integration between a brain region and other regions in its network, as well as a method for evaluating acquisition and preprocessing pipelines for resting state fMRI data. This article describes a method for learning multivariate models of connectivity. The method is applied in the non-parametric prediction accuracy, influence, and reproducibility-resampling (NPAIRS) framework, to study the regional variation of prediction accuracy and reproducibility (Strother et al., 2002). The resulting spatial distribution of these metrics is consistent with the functional hierarchy proposed by Mesulam (1998). Additionally we illustrate the utility of the multivariate regression connectivity modeling method for optimizing experimental parameters and assessing the quality of functional neuroimaging data.
Keywords: Effective connectivity; Functional connectivity; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; MVPA; Multi-voxel pattern analysis; Multivariate; Regression; Resting state; fMRI.
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