A graph-theoretical analysis algorithm for quantifying the transition from sensory input to motor output by an emotional stimulus
Graph-theoretical analysis algorithms have been used for identifying subnetworks in the human brain during the Default Mode State. Here, these methods are expanded to determine the interaction of the sensory and the motor subnetworks during the performance of an approach-avoidance paradigm utilizing the correlation strength between the signal intensity time courses as measure of synchrony. From functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data of 9 healthy volunteers, two signal time courses, one from the primary visual cortex (sensory input) and one from the motor cortex (motor output) were identified and a correlation difference map was calculated. Graph networks were created from this map and visualized with spring-embedded layouts and 3D layouts in the original anatomical space. Functional clusters in these networks were identified with the MCODE clustering algorithm. Interactions between the sensory sub-network and the motor sub-network were quantified through the interaction strengths of these clusters. The percentages of interactions involving the visual cortex ranged from 85 % to 18 % and the motor cortex ranged from 40 % to 9 %. Other regions with high interactions were: frontal cortex (19 ± 18 %), insula (17 ± 22 %), cuneus (16 ± 15 %), supplementary motor area (SMA, 11 ± 18 %) and subcortical regions (11 ± 10 %). Interactions between motor cortex, SMA and visual cortex accounted for 12 %, between visual cortex and cuneus for 8 % and between motor cortex, SMA and cuneus for 6 % of all interactions. These quantitative findings are supported by the visual impressions from the 2D and 3D network layouts.