The role of diversity in data-driven analysis of multi-subject fMRI data: Comparison of approaches based on independence and sparsity using global performance metrics

Hum Brain Mapp. 2019 Feb 1;40(2):489-504. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24389. Epub 2018 Sep 21.


Data-driven methods have been widely used in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data analysis. They extract latent factors, generally, through the use of a simple generative model. Independent component analysis (ICA) and dictionary learning (DL) are two popular data-driven methods that are based on two different forms of diversity-statistical properties of the data-statistical independence for ICA and sparsity for DL. Despite their popularity, the comparative advantage of emphasizing one property over another in the decomposition of fMRI data is not well understood. Such a comparison is made harder due to the differences in the modeling assumptions between ICA and DL, as well as within different ICA algorithms where each algorithm exploits a different form of diversity. In this paper, we propose the use of objective global measures, such as time course frequency power ratio, network connection summary, and graph theoretical metrics, to gain insight into the role that different types of diversity have on the analysis of fMRI data. Four ICA algorithms that account for different types of diversity and one DL algorithm are studied. We apply these algorithms to real fMRI data collected from patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls. Our results suggest that no one particular method has the best performance using all metrics, implying that the optimal method will change depending on the goal of the analysis. However, we note that in none of the scenarios we test the highly popular Infomax provides the best performance, demonstrating the cost of exploiting limited form of diversity.

Keywords: ICA; data-driven analysis; dictionary learning; diversity; fMRI analysis; global metric; independence; performance evaluation; sparsity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Female
  • Functional Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Functional Neuroimaging / standards
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / standards
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Schizophrenia / diagnostic imaging
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*