College of Liberal Arts
The DeYoung lab’s research is focused on understanding the neurobiological sources of psychological individual differences or personality, which is understood broadly to include variation in cognition, emotion, motivation, and behavior, including cognitive abilities and risks for psychopathology. The group's main use of MSI currently is for projects involving a method called group-prior individualized parcellation (GPIP). One major challenge in studying individual differences in brain function is that the brain’s cortex is not organized identically in each person. Even when standard techniques are used to align the anatomy of all brains in a sample, there are differences in exactly where different functions are localized in the cortex relative to anatomical structure. This poses a serious challenge, especially for research on individual differences, because any anatomical approach to identifying a region of interest in the cortex will not yield regions that are fully functionally equivalent across subjects. GPIP is a technique offering a solution to this problem, as it takes any standard atlas of coherent functional brain regions and then identifies the unique location of each region in each subject, using an iterative Bayesian process. These regions can then be compared across subjects and even across samples with confidence that one is truly examining the same functional region for all subjects. This greatly reduces noise in measurement and also greatly increases comparability across samples for the purpose of replication. GPIP is processing-intensive, and the researchers are using it in multiple samples with hundred or thousands of subjects, hence the need for MSI resources.