Developmental pathways to functional brain networks: emerging principles

Trends Cogn Sci. 2013 Dec;17(12):627-40. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.09.015. Epub 2013 Nov 1.


The human brain undergoes protracted developmental changes during which it constructs functional networks that engender complex cognitive abilities. Understanding brain function ultimately depends on knowledge of how dynamic interactions between distributed brain regions mature with age to produce sophisticated cognitive systems. This review summarizes recent progress in our understanding of the ontogeny of functional brain networks. Here I describe how complementary methods for probing functional connectivity are providing unique insights into the emergence and maturation of distinct functional networks from childhood to adulthood. I highlight six emerging principles governing the development of large-scale functional networks and discuss how they inform cognitive and affective function in typically developing children and in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Developmental Disabilities / pathology
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / growth & development
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development*