Clustering coefficients for correlation networks

Naoki Masuda, Michiko Sakaki, Takahiro Ezaki, Takamitsu Watanbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
212 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Graph theory is a useful tool for deciphering structural and functional networks of the brain on various spatial and temporal scales. The clustering coefficient quantifies the abundance of connected triangles in a network and is a major descriptive statistics of networks. For example, it finds an application in the assessment of small-worldness of brain networks, which is affected by attentional and cognitive conditions, age, psychiatric disorders and so forth. However, it remains unclear how the clustering coefficient should be measured in a correlation-based network, which is among major representations of brain networks. In the present article, we propose clustering coefficients tailored to correlation matrices. The key idea is to use three-way partial correlation or partial mutual information to measure the strength of the association between the two neighbouring nodes of a focal node relative to the amount of pseudo-correlation expected from indirect paths between the nodes. Our method avoids the difficulties that the of previous applications of clustering coefficient (and other) measures to in defining correlational networks face, i.e., thresholding on the correlation value, discarding of negative correlation values, the pseudo-correlation problem and full partial correlation matrices whose estimation is computationally difficult. For proof of concept, we apply the proposed clustering coefficient measures to functional magnetic resonance imaging data obtained from healthy participants of various ages and compare them with conventional clustering coefficients. We show that the clustering coefficients decline with the age. The proposed clustering coefficients are more strongly correlated with age than the conventional ones are. We also show that the local variants of the proposed clustering coefficients (i.e., abundance of triangles around a focal node) are useful in characterising individual nodes. In contrast, the conventional local clustering coefficients were strongly correlated with and therefore may be confounded by the node's connectivity. The proposed methods are expected to help us to understand clustering and lack thereof in general correlational brain networks, such as those derived from functional time series and across-participant correlation in neuroanatomical properties.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Early online date15 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2018

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