Multivariate pattern analysis approaches toward detection of brain regions from fMRI data have been gaining attention recently. In this study, we introduce an iterative sparse-representation-based algorithm for detection of voxels in functional MRI (fMRI) data with task relevant information. In each iteration of the algorithm, a linear programming problem is solved and a sparse weight vector is subsequently obtained. The final weight vector is the mean of those obtained in all iterations. The characteristics of our algorithm are as follows: 1) the weight vector (output) is sparse; 2) the magnitude of each entry of the weight vector represents the significance of its corresponding variable or feature in a classification or regression problem; and 3) due to the convergence of this algorithm, a stable weight vector is obtained. To demonstrate the validity of our algorithm and illustrate its application, we apply the algorithm to the Pittsburgh Brain Activity Interpretation Competition 2007 functional fMRI dataset for selecting the voxels, which are the most relevant to the tasks of the subjects. Based on this dataset, the aforementioned characteristics of our algorithm are analyzed, and a comparison between our method with the univariate general-linear-model-based statistical parametric mapping is performed. Using our method, a combination of voxels are selected based on the principle of effective/sparse representation of a task. Data analysis results in this paper show that this combination of voxels is suitable for decoding tasks and demonstrate the effectiveness of our method
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