A hypothesis in the study of the brain is that sparse coding is realized in information representation of external stimuli, which has been experimentally confirmed for visual stimulus recently. However, unlike the specific functional region in the brain, sparse coding in information processing in the whole brain has not been clarified sufficiently. In this study, we investigate the validity of sparse coding in the whole human brain by applying various matrix factorization methods to functional magnetic resonance imaging data of neural activities in the brain. The result suggests the sparse coding hypothesis in information representation in the whole human brain, because extracted features from the sparse matrix factorization (MF) method, sparse principal component analysis (SparsePCA), or method of optimal directions (MOD) under a high sparsity setting or an approximate sparse MF method, fast independent component analysis (FastICA), can classify external visual stimuli more accurately than the nonsparse MF method or sparse MF method under a low sparsity setting.

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