Abstract: Multi-subject datasets used in neuroimaging group studies have a complex structure, as they exhibit non-stationary statistical properties across regions and display various artifacts. While studies with small sample sizes can rarely be shown to deviate from standard hypotheses (such as the normality of the residuals) due to the poor sensitivity of normality tests with low degrees of freedom, large-scale studies (e.g. > 100 subjects) exhibit more obvious deviations from these hypotheses and call for more refined models for statistical inference. Here, we demonstrate the benefits of robust regression as a tool for analyzing large neuroimaging cohorts. First, we use an analytic test based on robust parameter estimates; based on simulations, this procedure is shown to provide an accurate statistical control without resorting to permutations. Second, we show that robust regression yields more detections than standard algorithms using as an example an imaging genetics study with 392 subjects. Third, we show that robust regression can avoid false positives in a large-scale analysis of brain–behavior relationships with over 1500 subjects. Finally we embed robust regression in the Randomized Parcellation Based Inference (RPBI) method and demonstrate that this combination further improves the sensitivity of tests carried out across the whole brain. Altogether, our results show that robust procedures provide important advantages in large-scale neuroimaging group studies.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).