Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Rhodri Cusack


The brain changes in many ways in the first year. It is not known which of these changes are most critical for the development of cognitive functions. According to the Interactive Specialization Theory, developments in behaviour result from changes in brain connectivity. We tested this using functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) of the motor system. fcMRI was acquired at three and nine months – two time-points between which motor behaviour develops enormously. Infants were additionally compared with adults. Subjects were scanned with a 3T MRI scanner, yielding BOLD signal time-courses that were correlated with one another. Our results do not support the Interactive Specialization Theory, as connectivity did not change with motor development and instead was adult-like in the youngest infants. fcMRI has enabled deeper exploration of network connectivity patterns and continues to emerge as a leading method in infant neuroscience.