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Canonical Correlation Analysis (CCA) has been widely applied to study correlations between neuroimaging data and behavioral data. Practical use of CCA typically requires dimensionality reduction with, for example, Principal Components Analysis (PCA), however, this can result in CCA components that are difficult to interpret. In this paper, we introduce a Domain-driven Dimension Reduction (DDR) method, reducing the dimensionality of the original datasets and combining human knowledge of the structure of the variables studied. We apply the method to the Human Connectome Project S1200 release and compare standard PCA across all variables with DDR applied to individual classes of variables, finding that DDR-CCA results are more stable and interpretable, allowing the contribution of each class of variable to be better understood. By carefully designing the analysis pipeline and cross-validating the results, we offer more insights into the interpretation of CCA applied to brain-behavior data.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Neurosci

Publication Date





Canonical Correlation Analysis (CCA), Principal Component Analysis (PCA), dimension reduction, interpretability analysis, resting-state functional connectivity