Spatial pattern analysis of functional brain images using partial least squares

Neuroimage. 1996 Jun;3(3 Pt 1):143-57. doi: 10.1006/nimg.1996.0016.


This paper introduces a new tool for functional neuroimage analysis: partial least squares (PLS). It is unique as a multivariate method in its choice of emphasis for analysis, that being the covariance between brain images and exogenous blocks representing either the experiment design or some behavioral measure. What emerges are spatial patterns of brain activity that represent the optimal association between the images and either of the blocks. This process differs substantially from other multivariate methods in that rather than attempting to predict the individual values of the image pixels, PLS attempts to explain the relation between image pixels and task or behavior. Data from a face encoding and recognition PET rCBF study are used to illustrate two types of PLS analysis: an activation analysis of task with images and a brain-behavior analysis. The commonalities across the two analyses are suggestive of a general face memory network differentially engaged during encoding and recognition. PLS thus serves as an important extension by extracting new information from imaging data that is not accessible through other currently used univariate and multivariate image analysis tools.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Face
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed