January 20, 2021

Brain connectivity at rest predicts individual differences in normative activity during movie watching

When multiple individuals are exposed to the same sensory event, some are bound to have less typical experiences than others. These atypical experiences are underpinned by atypical stimulus-evoked brain activity, the extent of which is often indexed by intersubject correlation (ISC). Previous research has attributed individual differences in ISC to variation in trait-like behavioral phenotypes. Here, we extend this line of work by showing that an individual’s degree and spatial distribution of ISC are closely related to their brain’s intrinsic functional architecture. Using resting state and movie watching fMRI data from 176 Human Connectome Project participants, we reveal that resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) profiles can be used to predict cortex-wide ISC with considerable accuracy. Similar region-level analyses demonstrate that the amount of ISC a brain region exhibits during movie watching is associated with its connectivity to others at rest, and that the nature of these connectivity-activity relationships varies as a function of the region’s role in sensory information processing. Finally, we show that an individual’s unique spatial distribution of ISC, independent of its magnitude, is also related to their RSFC profile. These findings suggest that the brain’s ability to process complex sensory information is tightly linked to its baseline functional organization and motivate a more comprehensive understanding of individual responses to naturalistic stimuli.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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