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Journal Articles NeuroImage Year : 2021

An empirical evaluation of functional alignment using inter-subject decoding


Inter-individual variability in the functional organization of the brain presents a major obstacle to identifying generalizable neural coding principles. Functional alignment-a class of methods that matches subjects' neural signals based on their functional similarity-is a promising strategy for addressing this variability. At present, however, a range of functional alignment methods have been proposed and their relative performance is still unclear. In this work, we benchmark five functional alignment methods for inter-subject decoding on four publicly available datasets. Specifically, we consider piecewise Procrustes, searchlight Procrustes, piecewise Optimal Transport, Shared Response Modelling (SRM), and intra-subject alignment; as well as associated methodological choices such as ROI definition. We find that functional alignment generally improves inter-subject decoding accuracy though the best performing method depends on the research context. Specifically, SRM performs best within a region-of-interest while piecewise Optimal Transport performs best at a whole-brain scale. We also benchmark the computational e ciency of each of the surveyed methods, providing insight into their usability and scalability. Taking inter-subject decoding accuracy as a quantification of inter-subject similarity, our results support the use of functional alignment to improve inter-subject comparisons in the face of variable structure-function organization. We provide open implementations of the methods used.
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Dates and versions

hal-03044779 , version 1 (07-12-2020)
hal-03044779 , version 2 (08-12-2020)
hal-03044779 , version 3 (02-11-2021)



Thomas Bazeille, Elizabeth Dupre, Hugo Richard, Jean-Baptiste Poline, Bertrand Thirion. An empirical evaluation of functional alignment using inter-subject decoding. NeuroImage, 2021, 245, ⟨10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118683⟩. ⟨hal-03044779v3⟩
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