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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Individual differences in human brain development

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This article discusses recent scientific advances in the study of individual differences in human brain development. Focusing on structural neuroimaging measures of brain morphology and tissue properties, two kinds of variability are related and explored: differences across individuals of the same age and differences across age as a result of development. A recent multidimensional modeling study is explained, which was able to use brain measures to predict an individual's chronological age within about one year on average, in children, adolescents, and young adults between 3 and 20 years old. These findings reveal great regularity in the sequence of the aggregate brain state across different ages and phases of development, despite the pronounced individual differences people show on any single brain measure at any given age. Future research is suggested, incorporating additional measures of brain activity and function. WIREs Cogn Sci 2017, 8:e1389. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1389

This article is categorized under:

  • Psychology > Brain Function and Dysfunction
  • Psychology > Development and Aging
Age‐varying contributions of different imaging measures to the prediction of age. The relative contributions of separate morphological, diffusivity, and signal intensity measures within different brain structures are plotted as a function of age. Colors correspond to measure and structure type (dark blue, cortical area; green, cortical thickness; red, subcortical volumes; light blue, diffusion within white matter tracts; dark pink, diffusion within subcortical ROIs; gold, T2 signal intensity within white matter tracts; black, T2 signal intensity within subcortical regions of interest. Contributions are computed as units of the proportion of total explained variance. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012)
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Multidimensional prediction of age. For 885 individuals, estimated brain age is plotted as a function of actual chronological age. Colors correspond to different sites and scanners. Symbol size represents subject sex (larger = female, smaller = male). A spline‐fit curve (solid line) with 5 and 95% prediction intervals (dashed lines) is also shown. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012)
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Individual morphological brain measures. Example measures derived from the segmentation of T1‐weighted MRI scans are plotted for 885 subjects as a function of age: total cortical area in square millimeters by thousands, mean cortical thickness in millimeters, volume of the left hippocampus in cubic millimeters by thousands, and volume of the right thalamus in cubic millimeters by thousands. Colors correspond to different sites and scanners. Symbol size represents subject sex (larger = female, smaller = male). A spline‐fit curve (solid line) with 5 and 95% prediction intervals (dashed lines) are also shown. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012)
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