Decoding the dynamic perception of risk and speed using naturalistic stimuli: A multivariate, whole-brain analysis

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Time-resolved decoding of speed and risk perception in car driving is important for understanding the perceptual processes related to driving safety. In this study, we used an fMRI-compatible trackball with naturalistic stimuli to record dynamic ratings of perceived risk and speed and investigated the degree to which different brain regions were able to decode these. We presented participants with first-person perspective videos of cars racing on the same course. These videos varied in terms of subjectively perceived speed and risk profiles, as determined during a behavioral pilot. During the fMRI experiment, participants used the trackball to dynamically rate subjective risk in a first and speed in a second session and assessed overall risk and speed after watching each video. A standard multivariate correlation analysis based on these ratings revealed sparse decodability in visual areas only for the risk ratings. In contrast, the dynamic rating-based correlation analysis uncovered frontal, visual, and temporal region activation for subjective risk and dorsal visual stream and temporal region activation for subjectively perceived speed. Interestingly, further analyses showed that the brain regions for decoding risk changed over time, whereas those for decoding speed remained constant. Overall, our results demonstrate the advantages of time-resolved decoding to help our understanding of the dynamic networks associated with decoding risk and speed perception in realistic driving scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere26652
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • dynamic correlation analysis
  • risk
  • searchlight analysis
  • sliding window
  • speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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