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Analysing brain networks in population neuroscience: a case for the Bayesian philosophy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Danilo Bzdok, Dorothea L. Floris, Andre F. Marquand

Original languageEnglish
Article number20190661
Number of pages1
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Issue number1796
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2020

King's Authors


Network connectivity fingerprints are among today's best choices to obtain a faithful sampling of an individual's brain and cognition. Widely available MRI scanners can provide rich information tapping into network recruitment and reconfiguration that now scales to hundreds and thousands of humans. Here, we contemplate the advantages of analysing such connectome profiles using Bayesian strategies. These analysis techniques afford full probability estimates of the studied network coupling phenomena, provide analytical machinery to separate epistemological uncertainty and biological variability in a coherent manner, usher us towards avenues to go beyond binary statements on existence versus non-existence of an effect, and afford credibility estimates around all model parameters at play which thus enable single-subject predictions with rigorous uncertainty intervals. We illustrate the brittle boundary between healthy and diseased brain circuits by autism spectrum disorder as a recurring theme where, we argue, network-based approaches in neuroscience will require careful probabilistic answers. This article is part of the theme issue 'Unifying the essential concepts of biological networks: biological insights and philosophical foundations'.

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