Infant fMRI: A Model System for Cognitive Neuroscience

Cameron T. Ellis, Nicholas B. Turk-Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Our understanding of the typical human brain has benefitted greatly from studying different kinds of brains and their associated behavioral repertoires, including animal models and neuropsychological patients. This same comparative perspective can be applied to early development – the environment, behavior, and brains of infants provide a model system for understanding how the mature brain works. This approach requires noninvasive methods for measuring brain function in awake, behaving infants. fMRI is becoming increasingly viable for this purpose, with the unique ability to precisely measure the entire brain, including both cortical and subcortical structures. Here we discuss potential lessons from infant fMRI for several domains of adult cognition and consider the challenges of conducting such research and how they might be mitigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-387
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • attention
  • cognitive development
  • memory systems
  • neuroimaging
  • perception


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