Maturation of task-induced brain activation and long range functional connectivity in adolescence revealed by multivariate pattern classification

E.H.H. Keulers, A. Goulas, J. Jolles, P. Stiers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)


The present study uses multivariate pattern classification analysis to examine maturation in task-induced brain activation and in functional connectivity during adolescence. The multivariate approach allowed accurate discrimination of adolescent boys of respectively 13, 17 and 21year-olds based on brain activation during a gonogo task, whereas the univariate statistical analyses showed no or only very few, small age-related clusters. Developmental differences in task activation were spatially distributed throughout the brain, indicating differences in the responsiveness of a wide range of task-related and default mode regions. Moreover, these distributed age-distinctive patterns generalized from a simple gonogo task to a cognitively and motivationally very different gambling task, and vice versa. This suggests that functional brain maturation in adolescence is driven by common processes across cognitive tasks as opposed to task-specific processes. Although we confirmed previous reports of age-related differences in functional connectivity, particularly for long range connections (>60mm), these differences were not specific to brain regions that showed maturation of task-induced responsiveness. Together with the task-independency of brain activation maturation, this result suggests that brain connectivity changes in the course of adolescence affect brain functionality at a basic level. This basic change is manifest in a range of tasks, from the simplest gonogo task to a complex gambling task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1250-1265
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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