Multidimensional stimulus-response correlation reveals supramodal neural responses to naturalistic stimuli

Jacek Dmochowski, J. Ki, P. DeGuzman, Paul Sajda, L. Parra

In neuroscience, stimulus-response relationships have traditionally been analyzed using either encoding
or decoding models. Here we combined both techniques by decomposing neural activity into multiple
components, each representing a portion of the stimulus. We tested this hybrid approach on encephalographic
responses to auditory and audiovisual narratives identically experienced across subjects, as well
as uniquely experienced video game play. The highest stimulus-response correlations (SRC) were detected
for dynamic visual features. During narratives both auditory and visual SRC were modulated
by attention and tracked correlations between subjects. During video game play, SRC was modulated
by task difficulty and attentional state. Importantly, the strongest component extracted for visual and
auditory features had nearly identical spatial distributions, suggesting that the predominant encephalographic
response to naturalistic stimuli is supramodal. The variety of novel findings demonstrates the
utility of measuring multidimensional stimulus-response correlations.

Accepted 26 September 2016
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