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Causal and anti-causal learning in pattern recognition for neuroimaging

by   Sebastian Weichwald, et al.
Max Planck Society
Universitätsklinikum Freiburg

Pattern recognition in neuroimaging distinguishes between two types of models: encoding- and decoding models. This distinction is based on the insight that brain state features, that are found to be relevant in an experimental paradigm, carry a different meaning in encoding- than in decoding models. In this paper, we argue that this distinction is not sufficient: Relevant features in encoding- and decoding models carry a different meaning depending on whether they represent causal- or anti-causal relations. We provide a theoretical justification for this argument and conclude that causal inference is essential for interpretation in neuroimaging.


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