Development of structure and function in the infant brain: Implications for cognition, language and social behaviour

Sarah J. Paterson, Sabine Heim, Jennifer Thomas Friedman, Naseem Choudhury, April A. Benasich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Recent advances in cognitive neuroscience have allowed us to begin investigating the development of both structure and function in the infant brain. However, despite the rapid evolution of technology, surprisingly few studies have examined the intersection between brain and behaviour over the first years of life. Even fewer have done so in the context of a particular research question. This paper aims to provide an overview of four domains that have been studied using techniques amenable to elucidating the brain/behaviour interface: language, face processing, object permanence, and joint attention, with particular emphasis on studies focusing on early development. The importance of the unique role of development and the interplay between structure and function is stressed throughout. It is hoped that this review will serve as a catalyst for further thinking about the substantial gaps in our understanding of the relationship between brain and behaviour across development. Further, our aim is to provide ideas about candidate brain areas that are likely to be implicated in particular behaviours or cognitive domains.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1087-1105
Number of pages19
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Brain
  • Cognition
  • Development
  • Imaging
  • Infants
  • Language


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