Mapping effective connectivity within cortical networks with diffuse optical tomography

Mahlega S. Hassanpour, Adam T. Eggebrecht, Jonathan E. Peelle, Joseph P. Culvera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Understanding how cortical networks interact in response to task demands is important both for providing insight into the brain's processing architecture and for managing neurological diseases and mental disorders. High-density diffuse optical tomography (HD-DOT) is a neuroimaging technique that offers the significant advantages of having a naturalistic, acoustically controllable environment and being compatible with metal implants, neither of which is possible with functional magnetic resonance imaging. We used HD-DOT to study the effective connectivity and assess the modulatory effects of speech intelligibility and syntactic complexity on functional connections within the cortical speech network. To accomplish this, we extend the use of a generalized psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analysis framework. In particular, we apply PPI methods to event-related HD-DOT recordings of cortical oxyhemoglobin activity during auditory sentence processing. We evaluate multiple approaches for selecting cortical regions of interest and for modeling interactions among these regions. Our results show that using subject-based regions has minimal effect on group-level connectivity maps. We also demonstrate that incorporating an interaction model based on estimated neural activity results in significantly stronger effective connectivity. Taken together our findings support the use of HD-DOT with PPI methods for noninvasively studying task-related modulations of functional connectivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number041402
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Diffuse optical tomography
  • Effective connectivity
  • Psychophysiological interaction
  • Speech comprehension


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