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Neural development is generally marked by an increase in the efficiency and diversity of neural processes. In a large sample (n=114) of human children and adults with ages ranging from 5 to 44 yr, we investigated the neural responses to naturalistic video stimuli. Videos from both real-life classroom settings and Hollywood feature films were used to probe different aspects of attention and engagement. For all stimuli, older ages were marked by more variable neural responses. Variability was assessed by the intersubject correlation of evoked electroencephalographic responses. Young males also had less-variable responses than young females. These results were replicated in an independent cohort (n=303). When interpreted in the context of neural maturation, we conclude that neural function becomes more variable with maturity, at least during the passive viewing of real-world stimuli.


This article was originally published in eNeuro, available at DOI:

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.



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