Dynamic connectivity regression: Determining state-related changes in brain connectivity

Citation: Cribben, I., Haraldsdottir, R., Atlas, L. Y., Wager, T. D., Lindquist, M. A. (2012). Dynamic connectivity regression: Determining state-related changes in brain connectivity. NeuroImage. 61(4): p. 907-920.

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Most statistical analyses of fMRI data assume that the nature, timing and duration of the psychological processes being studied are known. However, often it is hard to specify this information a priori. In this work we introduce a data-driven technique for partitioning the experimental time course into distinct temporal intervals with different multivariate functional connectivity patterns between a set of regions of interest (ROIs). The technique, called Dynamic Connectivity Regression (DCR), detects temporal change points in functional connectivity and estimates a graph, or set of relationships between ROIs, for data in the temporal partition that falls between pairs of change points. Hence, DCR allows for estimation of both the time of change in connectivity and the connectivity graph for each partition, without requiring prior knowledge of the nature of the experimental design. Permutation and bootstrapping methods are used to perform inference on the change points. The method is applied to various simulated data sets as well as to an fMRI data set from a study (N = 26) of a state anxiety induction using a socially evaluative threat challenge. The results illustrate the method's ability to observe how the networks between different brain regions changed with subjects' emotional state.