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Age and sex modulate the variability of neural responses to naturalistic videos

By Agustin Petroni, Samantha Cohen, Lei Ai, Nicolas Langer, Simon Henin, Tamara Vanderwal, Michael P Milham, Lucas C Parra

Posted 22 Nov 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/089060 (published DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0244-17.2017)

Neural development is generally marked by an increase in the efficiency and diversity of neural processes. In a large sample (N = 114) of children and adults with ages ranging from 5 - 44 years, we investigated the neural responses to naturalistic video stimuli. Videos from both real-life classroom settings and Hollywood feature films were used to probe different aspects of attention and engagement. For all stimuli, older ages were marked by more variable neural responses. Variability was assessed by the inter-subject correlation of evoked electroencephalographic (EEG) responses. Young males also had more variable responses than young females. These results were replicated in an independent cohort (N = 303). When interpreted in the context of neural maturation, we conclude that neural function becomes more variable with maturity, at least in during the passive viewing of real-world stimuli.

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