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Creators/Authors contains: "Wilson, James D."

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  1. Abstract

    Emerging research has begun investigating the neural underpinnings of the biological and psychological differences that drive political ideology, attitudes, and actions. Here, we explore the neurological roots of politics through conducting a large sample, whole-brain analysis of functional connectivity (FC) across common fMRI tasks. Using convolutional neural networks, we develop predictive models of ideology using FC from fMRI scans for nine standard task-based settings in a novel cohort of healthy adults (n = 174, age range: 18 to 40, mean = 21.43) from the Ohio State University Wellbeing Project. Our analyses suggest that liberals and conservatives have noticeable and discriminative differences in FC that can be identified with high accuracy using contemporary artificial intelligence methods and that such analyses complement contemporary models relying on socio-economic and survey-based responses. FC signatures from retrieval, empathy, and monetary reward tasks are identified as important and powerful predictors of conservatism, and activations of the amygdala, inferior frontal gyrus, and hippocampus are most strongly associated with political affiliation. Although the direction of causality is unclear, this study suggests that the biological and neurological roots of political behavior run much deeper than previously thought.

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  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Across the social sciences, scholars regularly pool effects over substantial periods of time, a practice that produces faulty inferences if the underlying data generating process is dynamic. To help researchers better perform principled analyses of time-varying processes, we develop a two-stage procedure based upon techniques for permutation testing and statistical process monitoring. Given time series cross-sectional data, we break the role of time through permutation inference and produce a null distribution that reflects a time-invariant data generating process. The null distribution then serves as a stable reference point, enabling the detection of effect changepoints. In Monte Carlo simulations, our randomization technique outperforms alternatives for changepoint analysis. A particular benefit of our method is that, by establishing the bounds for time-invariant effects before interacting with actual estimates, it is able to differentiate stochastic fluctuations from genuine changes. We demonstrate the method’s utility by applying it to a popular study on the relationship between alliances and the initiation of militarized interstate disputes. The example illustrates how the technique can help researchers make inferences about where changes occur in dynamic relationships and ask important questions about such changes. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Population analyses of functional connectivity have provided a rich understanding of how brain function differs across time, individual, and cognitive task. An important but challenging task in such population analyses is the identification of reliable features that describe the function of the brain, while accounting for individual heterogeneity. Our work is motivated by two particularly important challenges in this area: first, how can one analyze functional connectivity data over populations of individuals, and second, how can one use these analyses to infer group similarities and differences. Motivated by these challenges, we model population connectivity data as a multilayer network and develop the multi-node2vec algorithm, an efficient and scalable embedding method that automatically learns continuous node feature representations from multilayer networks. We use multi-node2vec to analyze resting state fMRI scans over a group of 74 healthy individuals and 60 patients with schizophrenia. We demonstrate how multilayer network embeddings can be used to visualize, cluster, and classify functional regions of the brain for these individuals. We furthermore compare the multilayer network embeddings of the two groups. We identify significant differences between the groups in the default mode network and salience network—findings that are supported by the triple network model theory of cognitive organization. Our findings reveal that multi-node2vec is a powerful and reliable method for analyzing multilayer networks. Data and publicly available code are available at . 
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  4. null (Ed.)
  5. Abstract

    Variability in the El Niño‐Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has global impacts on seasonal temperatures and rainfall. Current detection methods for extreme phases, which occur with irregular periodicity, rely upon sea surface temperature anomalies within a strictly defined geographic region of the Pacific Ocean. However, under changing climate conditions and ocean warming, these historically motivated indicators may not be reliable into the future. In this work, we demonstrate the power of data clustering as a robust, automatic way to detect anomalies in climate patterns. Ocean temperature profiles from Argo floats are partitioned into similar groups utilizing unsupervised machine learning methods. The automatically identified groups of measurements represent spatially coherent, large‐scale water masses in the Pacific, despite no inclusion of geospatial information in the clustering task. Further, spatiotemporal dynamics of the clusters are strongly indicative of El Niño events, the east Pacific warming phase of ENSO. The fitting of a cluster model on a collection of ocean profiles identifies changes in the vertical structure of the temperature profiles through reassignment to a different group, concisely capturing physical changes to the water column during an El Niño event, such as thermocline tilting. Clustering proves to be an effective tool for analysis of the irregularly sampled (in space and time) data from Argo floats and may serve as a novel approach for detecting anomalies given the freedom from thresholding decisions. Unsupervised machine learning could be particularly valuable due to its ability to identify patterns in data sets without user‐imposed expectations, facilitating further discovery of anomaly indicators.

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