January 23, 2021

Heterogeneous relationships between white matter and behaviour

Several studies have established specific relationships between White Matter (WM) and behaviour. However, these studies have typically focussed on fractional anisotropy (FA), a neuroimaging metric that is sensitive to multiple tissue properties, making it difficult to identify what biological aspects of WM may drive such relationships. Here, we carry out a pre-registered assessment of WM-behaviour relationships across multiple behavioural, anatomical and biological domains. Surprisingly, we find support for predicted relationships between FA and behaviour only in one of three pre-registered tests. We also find no evidence for consistent multimodal signatures across neuroimaging markers with different biological sensitivity, which suggests there is no common biological substrate for WM-behaviour relationships. These results demonstrate that FA-behaviour relationships from the literature may not be easily generalisable across domains. They also highlight a broad heterogeneity in WM’s relationship with behaviour, indicating that variable biological effects may be shaping their interaction.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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