Moving beyond the mean: Subgroups and dimensions of brain activity and cognitive performance across domains

NeuroImage, Vol. 231 (2021)

Mots clés
Authors
  • Colin Hawco
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Corresponding authors at: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Institute, 250 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada.
  • Erin W. Dickie
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Grace Jacobs
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada; Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Zafiris J. Daskalakis
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Aristotle N. Voineskos
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Corresponding authors at: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Institute, 250 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Résumé

Human neuroimaging during cognitive tasks has provided unique and important insights into the neurobiology of cognition. However, the vast majority of research relies on group aggregate or average statistical maps of activity, which do not fully capture the rich intersubject variability in brain function. In order to fully understand the neurobiology of cognitive processes, it is necessary to explore the range of variability in activation patterns across individuals. To better characterize individual variability, hierarchical clustering was performed separately on six fMRI tasks in 822 participants from the Human Connectome Project. Across all tasks, clusters ranged from a predominantly ‘deactivating’ pattern towards a more ‘activating’ pattern of brain activity, with significant differences in out-of-scanner cognitive test scores between clusters. Cluster stability was assessed via a resampling approach; a cluster probability matrix was generated, as the probability of any pair of participants clustering together when both were present in a random subsample. Rather than forming distinct clusters, participants fell along a spectrum or into pseudo-clusters without clear boundaries. A principal components analysis of the cluster probability matrix revealed three components explaining over 90% of the variance in clustering. Plotting participants in this lower-dimensional ‘similarity space’ revealed manifolds of variations along an S ‘snake’ shaped spectrum or a folded circle or ‘tortilla’ shape. The ‘snake’ shape was present in tasks where individual variability related to activity along covarying networks, while the ‘tortilla’ shape represented multiple networks which varied independently.

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