Gender classification using mesh networks on multiresolution multitask fMRI data

Ertugrul I. O., Ozay M., YARMAN VURAL F. T.

BRAIN IMAGING AND BEHAVIOR, vol.14, no.2, pp.460-476, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11682-018-0021-z
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.460-476
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Brain connectivity networks have been shown to represent gender differences under a number of cognitive tasks. Recently, it has been conjectured that fMRI signals decomposed into different resolutions embed different types of cognitive information. In this paper, we combine multiresolution analysis and connectivity networks to study gender differences under a variety of cognitive tasks, and propose a machine learning framework to discriminate individuals according to their gender. For this purpose, we estimate a set of brain networks, formed at different resolutions while the subjects perform different cognitive tasks. First, we decompose fMRI signals recorded under a sequence of cognitive stimuli into its frequency subbands using Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT). Next, we represent the fMRI signals by mesh networks formed among the anatomic regions for each task experiment at each subband. The mesh networks are constructed by ensembling a set of local meshes, each of which represents the relationship of an anatomical region as a weighted linear combination of its neighbors. Then, we estimate the edge weights of each mesh by ridge regression. The proposed approach yields 2CL functional mesh networks for each subject, where C is the number of cognitive tasks and L is the number of subband signals obtained after wavelet decomposition. This approach enables one to classify gender under different cognitive tasks and different frequency subbands. The final step of the suggested framework is to fuse the complementary information of the mesh networks for each subject to discriminate the gender. We fuse the information embedded in mesh networks formed for different tasks and resolutions under a three-level fuzzy stacked generalization (FSG) architecture. In this architecture, different layers are responsible for fusion of diverse information obtained from different cognitive tasks and resolutions. In the experimental analyses, we use Human Connectome Project task fMRI dataset. Results reflect that fusing the mesh network representations computed at multiple resolutions for multiple tasks provides the best gender classification accuracy compared to the single subband task mesh networks or fusion of representations obtained using only multitask or only multiresolution data. Besides, mesh edge weights slightly outperform pairwise correlations between regions, and significantly outperform raw fMRI signals. In addition, we analyze the gender discriminative power of mesh edge weights for different tasks and resolutions.