A central goal of cognitive neuroscience is to decode human brain activity—that is, to infer mental processes from observed patterns of whole-brain activation. Previous decoding efforts have focused on classifying brain activity into a small set of discrete cognitive states. To attain maximal utility, a decoding framework must be open-ended, systematic, and context-sensitive—that is, capable of interpreting numerous brain states, presented in arbitrary combinations, in light of prior information. Here we take steps towards this objective by introducing a probabilistic decoding framework based on a novel topic model—Generalized Correspondence Latent Dirichlet Allocation—that learns latent topics from a database of over 11,000 published fMRI studies. The model produces highly interpretable, spatially-circumscribed topics that enable flexible decoding of whole-brain images. Importantly, the Bayesian nature of the model allows one to “seed” decoder priors with arbitrary images and text—enabling researchers, for the first time, to generate quantitative, context-sensitive interpretations of whole-brain patterns of brain activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Modeling and Simulation
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Computational Theory and Mathematics