A graph algorithmic approach to separate direct from indirect neural interactions

  • Network graphs have become a popular tool to represent complex systems composed of many interacting subunits; especially in neuroscience, network graphs are increasingly used to represent and analyze functional interactions between multiple neural sources. Interactions are often reconstructed using pairwise bivariate analyses, overlooking the multivariate nature of interactions: it is neglected that investigating the effect of one source on a target necessitates to take all other sources as potential nuisance variables into account; also combinations of sources may act jointly on a given target. Bivariate analyses produce networks that may contain spurious interactions, which reduce the interpretability of the network and its graph metrics. A truly multivariate reconstruction, however, is computationally intractable because of the combinatorial explosion in the number of potential interactions. Thus, we have to resort to approximative methods to handle the intractability of multivariate interaction reconstruction, and thereby enable the use of networks in neuroscience. Here, we suggest such an approximative approach in the form of an algorithm that extends fast bivariate interaction reconstruction by identifying potentially spurious interactions post-hoc: the algorithm uses interaction delays reconstructed for directed bivariate interactions to tag potentially spurious edges on the basis of their timing signatures in the context of the surrounding network. Such tagged interactions may then be pruned, which produces a statistically conservative network approximation that is guaranteed to contain non-spurious interactions only. We describe the algorithm and present a reference implementation in MATLAB to test the algorithm’s performance on simulated networks as well as networks derived from magnetoencephalographic data. We discuss the algorithm in relation to other approximative multivariate methods and highlight suitable application scenarios. Our approach is a tractable and data-efficient way of reconstructing approximative networks of multivariate interactions. It is preferable if available data are limited or if fully multivariate approaches are computationally infeasible.

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Author:Patricia Wollstadt, Ulrich MeyerORCiDGND, Michael WibralORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):PLoS One
Place of publication:Lawrence, Kan.
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2015/10/19
Date of first Publication:2015/10/19
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2016/02/04
Issue:(10): e0140530
Page Number:26
First Page:1
Last Page:26
Copyright: © 2015 Wollstadt et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Informatik und Mathematik / Informatik
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Biowissenschaften / Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Fachübergreifende Einrichtungen / Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Dewey Decimal Classification:0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 004 Datenverarbeitung; Informatik
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0