Imaging brain development: The adolescent brain

The past 15 years has seen a rapid expansion in the number of studies using neuroimaging techniques to
investigate maturational changes in the human brain. In this paper, I review MRI studies on structural
changes in the developing brain, and fMRI studies on functional changes in the social brain during adolescence.
Both MRI and fMRI studies point to adolescence as a period of continued neural development. In the
final section, I discuss a number of areas of research that are just beginning and may be the subject of developmental
neuroimaging in the next twenty years. Future studies might focus on complex questions including
the development of functional connectivity; how gender and puberty influence adolescent brain development;
the effects of genes, environment and culture on the adolescent brain; development of the atypical
adolescent brain; and implications for policy of the study of the adolescent brain.