Objective: We present a unified statistical framework for characterizing community structure of brain functional networks that captures variation across individuals and evolution over time. Existing methods for community detection focus only on single-subject analysis of dynamic networks; while recent extensions to multiple-subjects analysis are limited to static networks. Method: To overcome these limitations, we propose a multi-subject, Markov-switching stochastic block model (MSS-SBM) to identify state-related changes in brain community organization over a group of individuals. We first formulate a multilayer extension of SBM to describe the time-dependent, multi-subject brain networks. We develop a novel procedure for fitting the multilayer SBM that builds on multislice modularity maximization which can uncover a common community partition of all layers (subjects) simultaneously. By augmenting with a dynamic Markov switching process, our proposed method is able to capture a set of distinct, recurring temporal states with respect to inter-community interactions over subjects and the change points between them. Results: Simulation shows accurate community recovery and tracking of dynamic community regimes over multilayer networks by the MSS-SBM. Application to task fMRI reveals meaningful non-Assortative brain community motifs, e.g., core-periphery structure at the group level, that are associated with language comprehension and motor functions suggesting their putative role in complex information integration. Our approach detected dynamic reconfiguration of modular connectivity elicited by varying task demands and identified unique profiles of intra and inter-community connectivity across different task conditions. Conclusion: The proposed multilayer network representation provides a principled way of detecting synchronous, dynamic modularity in brain networks across subjects.
- community detection
- Dynamic functional connectivity
- Markov-switching model
- stochastic blockmodel