Combining multivariate voxel selection and support vector machines for mapping and classification of fMRI spatial patterns

Federico De MartinoElia Formisano


In functional brain mapping, pattern recognition methods allow detecting multivoxel patterns of brain activation which are informative with respect to a subject's perceptual or cognitive state. The sensitivity of these methods, however, is greatly reduced when the proportion of voxels that convey the discriminative information is small compared to the total number of measured voxels. To reduce this dimensionality problem, previous studies employed univariate voxel selection or region-of-interest-based strategies as a preceding step to the application of machine learning algorithms. Here we employ a strategy for classifying functional imaging data based on a multivariate feature selection algorithm, Recursive Feature Elimination (RFE) that uses the training algorithm (support vector machine) recursively to eliminate irrelevant voxels and estimate informative spatial patterns. Generalization performances on test data increases while features/voxels are pruned based on their discrimination ability. In this article we evaluate RFE in terms of sensitivity of discriminative maps (Receiver Operative Characteristic analysis) and generalization performances and compare it to previously used univariate voxel selection strategies based on...Continue Reading


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