CI-GNN: A Granger Causality-Inspired Graph Neural Network for Interpretable Brain Network-Based Psychiatric Diagnosis

by   Kaizhong Zheng, et al.

There is a recent trend to leverage the power of graph neural networks (GNNs) for brain-network based psychiatric diagnosis, which,in turn, also motivates an urgent need for psychiatrists to fully understand the decision behavior of the used GNNs. However, most of the existing GNN explainers are either post-hoc in which another interpretive model needs to be created to explain a well-trained GNN, or do not consider the causal relationship between the extracted explanation and the decision, such that the explanation itself contains spurious correlations and suffers from weak faithfulness. In this work, we propose a granger causality-inspired graph neural network (CI-GNN), a built-in interpretable model that is able to identify the most influential subgraph (i.e., functional connectivity within brain regions) that is causally related to the decision (e.g., major depressive disorder patients or healthy controls), without the training of an auxillary interpretive network. CI-GNN learns disentangled subgraph-level representations α and e̱ṯa̱ that encode, respectively, the causal and noncausal aspects of original graph under a graph variational autoencoder framework, regularized by a conditional mutual information (CMI) constraint. We theoretically justify the validity of the CMI regulation in capturing the causal relationship. We also empirically evaluate the performance of CI-GNN against three baseline GNNs and four state-of-the-art GNN explainers on synthetic data and two large-scale brain disease datasets. We observe that CI-GNN achieves the best performance in a wide range of metrics and provides more reliable and concise explanations which have clinical evidence.


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