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Connectivity in fMRI: Blind Spots and Breakthroughs
Victor Solo, Jean-Baptiste Poline, Martin A. Lindquist, Sean L. Simpson, F. DuBois Bowman, Moo K. Chung, Ben Cassidy
In recent years, driven by scientific and clinical concerns, there has been an increased interest in the analysis of functional brain networks. The goal of these analyses is to better understand how brain regions interact, how this depends upon experimental conditions and behavioral measures and how anomalies (disease) can be recognized. In this work we provide, firstly, a brief review of some of the main existing methods of functional brain network analysis. But rather than compare them, as a traditional review would do, instead, we draw attention to their significant limitations and blind spots. Then, secondly, relevant experts, sketch a number of emerging methods, which can break through these limitations. In particular we discuss five such methods. The first two, stochastic block models and exponential random graph models, provide an inferential basis for network analysis lacking in the exploratory graph analysis methods. The other three address: network comparison via persistent homology, time-varying connectivity that distinguishes sample fluctuations from neural fluctuations and, network system identification that draws inferential strength from temporal autocorrelation.