Authors: Niu, WK; Huang, XH; Xu, KB; Jiang, TZ; Yu, S
Published: AUG 1 2019
Document type: Article
Spatially separated brain areas interact with each other to form networks with coordinated activities, supporting various brain functions. Interaction structures among brain areas have been widely investigated through pairwise measures. However, interactions among multiple (e.g., triple and quadruple) areas cannot be reduced to pairwise interactions. Such higher order interactions (HOIs), e.g., exclusive-or (XOR) operation, are widely implemented in computation systems and are crucial for effective information processing. However, it is currently unclear whether any HOIs are present in large-scale brain functional networks when subjects are executing specific tasks. Here we analyzed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data collected from human subjects executing various perceptual, motor, and cognitive tasks. We found that HOI strength in the macroscopic functional networks was very weak for all tasks, suggesting that major brain activities do not rely on HOIs on the macroscopic level at the timescale of hundreds of milliseconds. These weak HOIs during tasks were further investigated with a neural network model activated by external inputs, which suggested that weak pairwise interactions among brain areas organized the system without involving HOIs. Taken together, these results demonstrated the dominance of pairwise interactions in organizing coordinated activities among different brain areas to support various brain functions. (C) 2019 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.