Exploring Developmental Change in the Neural Bases of Higher Cognitive Functions: The Promise of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Joan Stiles, Pamela Moses, Alessandra Passarotti, Frederic Dick, Richard Buxton
2003 Developmental Neuropsychology  
The dramatic changes in cognitive ability observed throughout childhood mirror comparably significant changes in the developing brain. Studies of animals provide important data on associations between the development of behavior and the neural substrate. However, understanding the development of brain-behavior relations for higher cognitive functions in humans requires direct, concurrent measurement of behavior and brain functions in the children themselves. To date, such data have been very
more » ... a have been very limited. Recent developments in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) provide the opportunity to systematically explore the development of brain-behavior relations in children. In this article we consider the potential of fMRI to contribute to researchers' understanding of the development of brain-behavior relations. We begin with an overview of the basic imaging method. We then review work from our own laboratory that demonstrates systematic patterns of association between performance on visuospatial tasks and patterns of brain activation, and we compare our findings with those from other laboratories focused on other cognitive domains. Finally, we discuss the potential impact of functional imaging on researchers' understanding of core issues in cognitive and brain development.
doi:10.1207/s15326942dn242&3_07 pmid:14561565 fatcat:rnvxmodojzgj7ppu3do47mhiza