Decoding auditory spatial and emotional information encoding using multivariate versus univariate techniques
Experimental Brain Research
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Emotion can have diverse effects on behaviour and perception, modulating function in some circumstances, and sometimes having little effect. Recently, it was identified that part of the heterogeneity of emotional effects could be due to a dissociable representation of emotion in dual pathway models of sensory processing. Our previous fMRI experiment using traditional univariate analyses showed that emotion modulated processing in the auditory 'what' but not 'where' processing pathway. The current study aims to further investigate this dissociation using a more recently emerging multi-voxel pattern analysis searchlight approach. While undergoing fMRI, participants localized sounds of varying emotional content. A searchlight multi-voxel pattern analysis was conducted to identify activity patterns predictive of sound location and/or emotion. Relative to the prior univariate analysis, MVPA indicated larger overlapping spatial and emotional representations of sound within early secondary regions associated with auditory localization. However, consistent with the univariate analysis, these two dimensions were increasingly segregated in late secondary and tertiary regions of the auditory processing streams. These results, while complimentary to our original univariate analyses, highlight the utility of multiple analytic approaches for neuroimaging, particularly for neural processes with known representations dependent on population coding.