A guided multiverse study of neuroimaging analyses

Nat Commun. 2022 Jun 29;13(1):3758. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-31347-8.


For most neuroimaging questions the range of possible analytic choices makes it unclear how to evaluate conclusions from any single analytic method. One possible way to address this issue is to evaluate all possible analyses using a multiverse approach, however, this can be computationally challenging and sequential analyses on the same data can compromise predictive power. Here, we establish how active learning on a low-dimensional space capturing the inter-relationships between pipelines can efficiently approximate the full spectrum of analyses. This approach balances the benefits of a multiverse analysis without incurring the cost on computational and predictive power. We illustrate this approach with two functional MRI datasets (predicting brain age and autism diagnosis) demonstrating how a multiverse of analyses can be efficiently navigated and mapped out using active learning. Furthermore, our presented approach not only identifies the subset of analysis techniques that are best able to predict age or classify individuals with autism spectrum disorder and healthy controls, but it also allows the relationships between analyses to be quantified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Neuroimaging / methods