Arthur Mensch, Julien Mairal, Danilo Bzdok, Bertrand Thirion, Gael Varoquaux
Cognitive neuroscience is enjoying rapid increase in extensive public brain-imaging datasets. It opens the door to large-scale statistical models. Finding a unified perspective for all available data calls for scalable and automated solutions to an old challenge: how to aggregate heterogeneous information on brain function into a universal cognitive system that relates mental operations/cognitive processes/psychological tasks to brain networks? We cast this challenge in a machine-learning approach to predict conditions from statistical brain maps across different studies. For this, we leverage multi-task learning and multi-scale dimension reduction to learn low-dimensional representations of brain images that carry cognitive information and can be robustly associated with psychological stimuli. Our multi-dataset classification model achieves the best prediction performance on several large reference datasets, compared to models without cognitive-aware low-dimension representations; it brings a substantial performance boost to the analysis of small datasets, and can be introspected to identify universal template cognitive concepts.