To isolate the midbrain region of the CST, we multiplied a whole-brain image containing a mask of the entire midbrain with an atlas-defined mask of the CST, separately for the left and right hemispheres. The midbrain region was obtained using a standard space atlas (MNI152 T1 1mm) (27), and the CST map was obtained from an atlas of white matter regions in standard space (MNI152 T1 1mm) (28). We identified the voxels that represented the intersection of the two masks, which resulted in an objective (i.e., hands-off) definition of the CST in the midbrain. The resulting CST ROI for each participant was used to extract the average FA values from the FA map in standard (MNI) space. A schematic illustration of these steps is represented in fig. S1. The advantage of this pipeline for defining midbrain ROIs is that it does not require hand-drawn ROIs and is thus an objective means to define key regions; this ensures generalizability and replicability of the core findings.

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