What have we learned about cognitive development from neuroimaging? Review uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging


  • Changes in many domains of cognition occur with development. In this paper, we discuss neuroimaging approaches to understanding these changes at a neural level. We highlight how modern imaging methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are being used to examine how cognitive development is supported by the maturation of the brain. Some reports suggest developmental changes in patterns of brain activity appear to involve a shift from diffuse to more focal activation, likely representing a fine-tuning of relevant neural systems with experience. One of the challenges in investigating the interplay between cognitive development and maturation of the brain is to separate the contributions of neural changes specific to development and learning. Examples are given from the developmental neuroimaging literature. The focus is on the development of cognitive control, as the protracted developmental course of this ability into adolescence raises key issues. Finally, the relevance of normative studies for understanding neural and cognitive changes in developmental disorders is discussed.

publication date

  • July 10, 2006



  • Review



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2005.10.010

PubMed ID

  • 16303150

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 2149

end page

  • 57


  • 44


  • 11