The fact that people think or behave differently from one another is rooted in individual differences in brain anatomy and connectivity. Here, we used repeated-measurement resting-state functional MRI to explore intersubject variability in connectivity. Individual differences in functional connectivity were heterogeneous across the cortex, with significantly higher variability in heteromodal association cortex and lower variability in unimodal cortices. Intersubject variability in connectivity was significantly correlated with the degree of evolutionary cortical expansion, suggesting a potential evolutionary root of functional variability. The connectivity variability was also related to variability in sulcal depth but not cortical thickness, positively correlated with the degree of long-range connectivity but negatively correlated with local connectivity. A meta-analysis further revealed that regions predicting individual differences in cognitive domains are predominantly located in regions of high connectivity variability. Our findings have potential implications for understanding brain evolution and development, guiding intervention, and interpreting statistical maps in neuroimaging.
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