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Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2019 Apr;36:100600. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2018.10.004. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

Movies in the magnet: Naturalistic paradigms in developmental functional neuroimaging.

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University of British Columbia, 2255 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 2A1, Canada; Yale Child Study Center, 230 South Frontage Road, New Haven CT, 06519, United States. Electronic address:
Yale Child Study Center, 230 South Frontage Road, New Haven CT, 06519, United States.
The Child Study Center at New York University Langone Medical Center, 1 Park Avenue, New York, NY, 10016, United States; Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, 140 Old Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg, NY, 10962, United States.


The use of movie-watching as an acquisition state for functional connectivity (FC) MRI has recently enabled multiple groups to obtain rich data sets in younger children with both substantial sample sizes and scan durations. Using naturalistic paradigms such as movies has also provided analytic flexibility for these developmental studies that extends beyond conventional resting state approaches. This review highlights the advantages and challenges of using movies for developmental neuroimaging and explores some of the methodological issues involved in designing pediatric studies with movies. Emerging themes from movie-watching studies are discussed, including an emphasis on intersubject correlations, developmental changes in network interactions under complex naturalistic conditions, and dynamic age-related changes in both sensory and higher-order network FC even in narrow age ranges. Converging evidence suggests an enhanced ability to identify brain-behavior correlations in children when using movie-watching data relative to both resting state and conventional tasks. Future directions and cautionary notes highlight the potential and the limitations of using movies to study FC in pediatric populations.


Children; Head motion; Intersubject correlations; Movies; Naturalistic viewing; Resting state

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