Autoconnectivity: A new perspective on human brain function

Mohammad R. Arbabshirani, Adrian Preda, Jatin G. Vaidya, Steven G. Potkin, Godfrey Pearlson, James Voyvodic, Daniel Mathalon, Theo van Erp, Andrew Michael, Kent A. Kiehl, Jessica A. Turner, Vince D. Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Autocorrelation (AC)in fMRI time-series is a well-known phenomenon, typically attributed to colored noise and therefore removed from the data. We hypothesize that AC reflects systematic and meaningful signal fluctuations that may be tied to neural activity and provide evidence to support this hypothesis. New method: Each fMRI time-series is modeled as an autoregressive process from which the autocorrelation is quantified. Then, autocorrelation during resting-state fMRI and auditory oddball (AOD)task in schizophrenia and healthy volunteers is examined. Results: During resting-state, AC was higher in the visual cortex while during AOD task, frontal part of the brain exhibited higher AC in both groups. AC values were significantly lower in specific brain regions in schizophrenia patients (such as thalamus during resting-state)compared to healthy controls in two independent datasets. Moreover, AC values had significant negative correlation with patients’ symptoms. AC differences discriminated patients from healthy controls with high accuracy (resting-state). Comparison with existing methods: Contrary to most prior works, the results suggest AC shows meaningful patterns that are discriminative between patients and controls. Our results are in line with recent works attributing autocorrelation to feedback loop of brain's regulatory circuit. Conclusions: Autoconnectivity is cognitive state dependent (resting-state vs. task)and mental state dependent (healthy vs. schizophrenia). The concept of autoconnectivity resembles a recurrent neural network and provides a new perspective of functional integration in the brain. These findings may have important implications for understanding of brain function in health and disease as well as for analysis of fMRI time-series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
StatePublished - Jul 15 2019


  • Autoconnectivity
  • Autocorrelation
  • Functional MRI
  • Functional connectivity
  • Resting-state
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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