Functional Causal Mediation Analysis With an Application to Brain Connectivity
Mediation analysis is often used in the behavioral sciences to investigate the role of intermediate variables that lie on the causal path between a randomized treatment and an outcome variable. Typically, mediation is assessed using structural equation models (SEMs), with model coefficients interpreted as causal effects. In this article, we present an extension of SEMs to the functional data analysis (FDA) setting that allows the mediating variable to be a continuous function rather than a single scalar measure, thus providing the opportunity to study the functional effects of the mediator on the outcome. We provide sufficient conditions for identifying the average causal effects of the functional mediators using the extended SEM, as well as weaker conditions under which an instrumental variable estimand may be interpreted as an effect. The method is applied to data from a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of thermal pain that sought to determine whether activation in certain brain regions mediated the effect of applied temperature on self-reported pain. Our approach provides valuable information about the timing of the mediating effect that is not readily available when using the standard nonfunctional approach. To the best of our knowledge, this work provides the first application of causal inference to the FDA framework.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 107 (2012)
Issue (Month): 500 (December)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/UASA20|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/UASA20|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jnlasa:v:107:y:2012:i:500:p:1297-1309. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.