Act natural: Functional connectivity from naturalistic stimuli fMRI outperforms resting-state in predicting brain activity

Shachar Gal, Yael Coldham, Niv Tik, Michal Bernstein-Eliav, Ido Tavor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The search for an ‘ideal’ approach to investigate the functional connections in the human brain is an ongoing challenge for the neuroscience community. While resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been widely used to study individual functional connectivity patterns, recent work has highlighted the benefits of collecting functional connectivity data while participants are exposed to naturalistic stimuli, such as watching a movie or listening to a story. For example, functional connectivity data collected during movie-watching were shown to predict cognitive and emotional scores more accurately than resting-state-derived functional connectivity. We have previously reported a tight link between resting-state functional connectivity and task-derived neural activity, such that the former successfully predicts the latter. In the current work we use data from the Human Connectome Project to demonstrate that naturalistic-stimulus-derived functional connectivity predicts task-induced brain activation maps more accurately than resting-state-derived functional connectivity. We then show that activation maps predicted using naturalistic stimuli are better predictors of individual intelligence scores than activation maps predicted using resting-state. We additionally examine the influence of naturalistic-stimulus type on prediction accuracy. Our findings emphasize the potential of naturalistic stimuli as a promising alternative to resting-state fMRI for connectome-based predictive modelling of individual brain activity and cognitive traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119359
JournalNeuroImage
Volume258
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Functional connectivity
  • Individual differences
  • Naturalistic stimuli
  • Predictive modelling
  • Resting-state fMRI
  • Task-fMRI

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