Functional architecture of cerebral cortex during naturalistic movie-watching

Reza Rajimehr, Haoran Xu, Asa Farahani, Simon Kornblith, John Duncan, Robert Desimone. bioRxiv, Mar 2022.


Characterizing the functional organization of cerebral cortex is a fundamental step in understanding how different kinds of information are processed in the brain. Neuroimaging studies over the past decades have uncovered the function of many cortical areas in response to selected stimulus categories. However, it is still unclear how cortical areas are organized during naturalistic visual and auditory stimulation. Here we used high-resolution functional MRI data from 176 human subjects to map the macro-architecture of the entire cerebral cortex based on responses to a 60-minute audiovisual movie stimulus. A data-driven clustering approach revealed a map of 24 functional areas/networks, each related to a specific aspect of sensory or cognitive processing. The map included three distinct executive control (domain-general) networks which showed a strong push-pull interaction with domain-specific regions in visual, auditory, and language cortex. The cortical parcellation scheme presented here provides a comprehensive and unified map of functionally defined areas, which could replace a large set of functional localizer maps.