Large-Scale Gradients in Human Cortical Organization

Trends Cogn Sci. 2018 Jan;22(1):21-31. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.11.002. Epub 2017 Dec 1.


Recent advances in mapping cortical areas in the human brain provide a basis for investigating the significance of their spatial arrangement. Here we describe a dominant gradient in cortical features that spans between sensorimotor and transmodal areas. We propose that this gradient constitutes a core organizing axis of the human cerebral cortex, and describe an intrinsic coordinate system on its basis. Studying the cortex with respect to these intrinsic dimensions can inform our understanding of how the spectrum of cortical function emerges from structural constraints.

Keywords: cortical organization; functional hierarchy; gradient; intrinsic coordinate system; spatial arrangement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans