Neurocognitive Maturation in Multi-scale Functional Brain Networks
The brain is a multi-scale system, yet studies of functional network development usually focus on a single network scale. We derived personalized functional networks across 29 scales in a large developmental sample (n=693, ages 8-23 years) to identify multi-scale patterns of network maturation and associations with executive function. We found that age-related changes in between-network functional coupling were largely explained by each network’s position in a functional hierarchy: while unimodal networks functionally integrated with the rest of the cortex with age, transmodal networks became more segregated. Furthermore, we observed that scale-dependent effects were present in unimodal but not transmodal networks. Finally, we found that network maturation had clear behavioral relevance: the development of functional coupling in unimodal and transmodal networks dissociably mediated the emergence of executive function. These results underscore how the maturation of multi-scale brain networks varies according to a functional hierarchy and impacts cognitive development.