Dr. Moritz Grosse-Wentrup, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tuebingen, Germany
Talk Title: Causal Interpretation of Encoding and Decoding Models in Neuroimaging
Abstract: Even though neuroimaging models per se only provide insights into the neural correlates of cognition, causal terminology is often introduced in the interpretation of neuroimaging data. In this talk, I investigate which causal statements are warranted and which ones are not supported by empirical evidence. I argue that in order to decide this question it is necessary to distinguish between encoding- and decoding models as well as between stimulus- and response-based experimental paradigms. I then proceed to demonstrate that only encoding models in stimulus-based paradigms support unambiguous causal statements. By combining encoding and decoding models trained on the same data, however, it is possible to obtain insights into causal structure beyond those implied by each individual model type. I illustrate the empirical significance of our theoretical findings on EEG data recorded during a visuo-motor learning task.
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