Bayesian fusion and multimodal DCM for EEG and fMRI

Huilin Wei, Amirhossein Jafarian, Peter Zeidman, Vladimir Litvak, Adeel Razi, Dewen Hu, Karl J. Friston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper asks whether integrating multimodal EEG and fMRI data offers a better characterisation of functional brain architectures than either modality alone. This evaluation rests upon a dynamic causal model that generates both EEG and fMRI data from the same neuronal dynamics. We introduce the use of Bayesian fusion to provide informative (empirical) neuronal priors – derived from dynamic causal modelling (DCM) of EEG data – for subsequent DCM of fMRI data. To illustrate this procedure, we generated synthetic EEG and fMRI timeseries for a mismatch negativity (or auditory oddball) paradigm, using biologically plausible model parameters (i.e., posterior expectations from a DCM of empirical, open access, EEG data). Using model inversion, we found that Bayesian fusion provided a substantial improvement in marginal likelihood or model evidence, indicating a more efficient estimation of model parameters, in relation to inverting fMRI data alone. We quantified the benefits of multimodal fusion with the information gain pertaining to neuronal and haemodynamic parameters – as measured by the Kullback-Leibler divergence between their prior and posterior densities. Remarkably, this analysis suggested that EEG data can improve estimates of haemodynamic parameters; thereby furnishing proof-of-principle that Bayesian fusion of EEG and fMRI is necessary to resolve conditional dependencies between neuronal and haemodynamic estimators. These results suggest that Bayesian fusion may offer a useful approach that exploits the complementary temporal (EEG) and spatial (fMRI) precision of different data modalities. We envisage the procedure could be applied to any multimodal dataset that can be explained by a DCM with a common neuronal parameterisation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116595
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Bayesian belief updating
  • Canonical microcircuit neural mass model
  • Dynamic causal modelling
  • Information gain
  • Multimodal data

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