Graph-Based Decoding Model for Functional Alignment of Unaligned fMRI Data
Aggregating multi-subject functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data is indispensable for generating valid and general inferences from patterns distributed across human brains. The disparities in anatomical structures and functional topographies of human brains warrant aligning fMRI data across subjects. However, the existing functional alignment methods cannot handle well various kinds of fMRI datasets today, especially when they are not temporally-aligned, i.e., some of the subjects probably lack the responses to some stimuli, or different subjects might follow different sequences of stimuli. In this paper, a cross-subject graph that depicts the (dis)similarities between samples across subjects is used as a priori for developing a more flexible framework that suits an assortment of fMRI datasets. However, the high dimension of fMRI data and the use of multiple subjects makes the crude framework time-consuming or unpractical. To address this issue, we further regularize the framework, so that a novel feasible kernel-based optimization, which permits non-linear feature extraction, could be theoretically developed. Specifically, a low-dimension assumption is imposed on each new feature space to avoid overfitting caused by the high-spatial-low-temporal resolution of fMRI data. Experimental results on five datasets suggest that the proposed method is not only superior to several state-of-the-art methods on temporally-aligned fMRI data, but also suitable for dealing with temporally-unaligned fMRI data.