skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on January 1, 2023

Title: NLGC: Network Localized Granger Causality with Application to MEG Directional Functional Connectivity Analysis
Identifying the directed connectivity that underlie networked activity between different cortical areas is critical for understanding the neural mechanisms behind sensory processing. Granger causality (GC) is widely used for this purpose in functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis, but there the temporal resolution is low, making it difficult to capture the millisecond-scale interactions underlying sensory processing. Magne- toencephalography (MEG) has millisecond resolution, but only provides low-dimensional sensor-level linear mixtures of neural sources, which makes GC inference challenging. Conventional methods proceed in two stages: First, cortical sources are estimated from MEG using a source localization technique, followed by GC inference among the estimated sources. However, the spatiotemporal biases in estimating sources propagate into the subsequent GC analysis stage, may result in both false alarms and missing true GC links. Here, we introduce the Network Localized Granger Causality (NLGC) inference paradigm, which models the source dynamics as latent sparse multivariate autoregressive processes and estimates their parameters directly from the MEG measurements, integrated with source localization, and employs the resulting parameter estimates to produce a precise statistical characterization of the detected GC links. We offer several theoretical and algorithmic innovations within NLGC and further examine its utility via comprehensive simulations and application to MEG more » data from an auditory task involving tone processing from both younger and older participants. Our simulation studies reveal that NLGC is markedly robust with respect to model mismatch, network size, and low signal-to-noise ratio, whereas the conventional two-stage methods result in high false alarms and mis-detections. We also demonstrate the advantages of NLGC in revealing the cortical network- level characterization of neural activity during tone processing and resting state by delineating task- and age-related connectivity changes. « less
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract
    Speech processing is highly incremental. It is widely accepted that human listeners continuously use the linguistic context to anticipate upcoming concepts, words, and phonemes. However, previous evidence supports two seemingly contradictory models of how a predictive context is integrated with the bottom-up sensory input: Classic psycholinguistic paradigms suggest a two-stage process, in which acoustic input initially leads to local, context-independent representations, which are then quickly integrated with contextual constraints. This contrasts with the view that the brain constructs a single coherent, unified interpretation of the input, which fully integrates available information across representational hierarchies, and thus uses contextual constraintsMore>>
  2. Situated models of emotion hypothesize that emotions are optimized for the context at hand, but most neuroimaging approaches ignore context. For the first time, we applied Granger causality (GC) analysis to determine how an emotion is affected by a person’s cultural background and situation. Electroencephalographic recordings were obtained from mainland Chinese (CHN) and US participants as they viewed and rated fearful and neutral images displaying either social or non-social contexts. Independent component analysis and GC analysis were applied to determine the epoch of peak effect for each condition and to identify sources and sinks among brain regions of interest. Wemore »found that source–sink couplings differed across culture, situation and culture × situation. Mainland CHN participants alone showed preference for an early-onset source–sink pairing with the supramarginal gyrus as a causal source, suggesting that, relative to US participants, CHN participants more strongly prioritized a scene’s social aspects in their response to fearful scenes. Our findings suggest that the neural representation of fear indeed varies according to both culture and situation and their interaction in ways that are consistent with norms instilled by cultural background.« less
  3. Abstract Beyond the symptoms which characterize their diagnoses, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show enhanced performance in simple perceptual discrimination tasks. Often attributed to superior sensory sensitivities, enhanced performance may also reflect a weaker bias towards previously perceived stimuli. This study probes perceptual inference in a group of individuals who have lost the autism diagnosis (LAD); that is, they were diagnosed with ASD in early childhood but have no current ASD symptoms. Groups of LAD, current ASD, and typically developing (TD) participants completed an auditory discrimination task. Individuals with TD showed a bias towards previously perceived stimuli—a perceptual processmore »called “contraction bias”; that is, their representation of a given tone was contracted towards the preceding trial stimulus in a manner that is Bayesian optimal. Similarly, individuals in the LAD group showed a contraction bias. In contrast, individuals with current ASD showed a weaker contraction bias, suggesting reduced perceptual inferencing. These findings suggest that changes that characterize LAD extend beyond the social and communicative symptoms of ASD, impacting perceptual domains. Measuring perceptual processing earlier in development in ASD will tap the causality between changes in perceptual and symptomatological domains. Further, the characterization of perceptual inference could reveal meaningful individual differences in complex high-level behaviors.« less
  4. Leslie, Christina S. (Ed.)
    Gene regulatory network inference is essential to uncover complex relationships among gene pathways and inform downstream experiments, ultimately enabling regulatory network re-engineering. Network inference from transcriptional time-series data requires accurate, interpretable, and efficient determination of causal relationships among thousands of genes. Here, we develop Bootstrap Elastic net regression from Time Series (BETS), a statistical framework based on Granger causality for the recovery of a directed gene network from transcriptional time-series data. BETS uses elastic net regression and stability selection from bootstrapped samples to infer causal relationships among genes. BETS is highly parallelized, enabling efficient analysis of large transcriptional data sets.more »We show competitive accuracy on a community benchmark, the DREAM4 100-gene network inference challenge, where BETS is one of the fastest among methods of similar performance and additionally infers whether causal effects are activating or inhibitory. We apply BETS to transcriptional time-series data of differentially-expressed genes from A549 cells exposed to glucocorticoids over a period of 12 hours. We identify a network of 2768 genes and 31,945 directed edges (FDR ≤ 0.2). We validate inferred causal network edges using two external data sources: Overexpression experiments on the same glucocorticoid system, and genetic variants associated with inferred edges in primary lung tissue in the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) v6 project. BETS is available as an open source software package at .« less
  5. Morrison, Abigail (Ed.)
    Assessing directional influences between neurons is instrumental to understand how brain circuits process information. To this end, Granger causality, a technique originally developed for time-continuous signals, has been extended to discrete spike trains. A fundamental assumption of this technique is that the temporal evolution of neuronal responses must be due only to endogenous interactions between recorded units, including self-interactions. This assumption is however rarely met in neurophysiological studies, where the response of each neuron is modulated by other exogenous causes such as, for example, other unobserved units or slow adaptation processes. Here, we propose a novel point-process Granger causality techniquemore »that is robust with respect to the two most common exogenous modulations observed in real neuronal responses: within-trial temporal variations in spiking rate and between-trial variability in their magnitudes. This novel method works by explicitly including both types of modulations into the generalized linear model of the neuronal conditional intensity function (CIF). We then assess the causal influence of neuron i onto neuron j by measuring the relative reduction of neuron j ’s point process likelihood obtained considering or removing neuron i . CIF’s hyper-parameters are set on a per-neuron basis by minimizing Akaike’s information criterion. In synthetic data sets, generated by means of random processes or networks of integrate-and-fire units, the proposed method recovered with high accuracy, sensitivity and robustness the underlying ground-truth connectivity pattern. Application of presently available point-process Granger causality techniques produced instead a significant number of false positive connections. In real spiking responses recorded from neurons in the monkey pre-motor cortex (area F5), our method revealed many causal relationships between neurons as well as the temporal structure of their interactions. Given its robustness our method can be effectively applied to real neuronal data. Furthermore, its explicit estimate of the effects of unobserved causes on the recorded neuronal firing patterns can help decomposing their temporal variations into endogenous and exogenous components.« less