Journal of Neuroscience
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The transition from childhood to adulthood is marked by pronounced functional and structural brain transformations that impact cognition and behavior. Here, we use a functional imaging approach to reveal dynamic changes in coupling strength between networks and the expression of discrete brain configurations over human development during rest and a cognitive control task. Although the brain’s repertoire of functional states was generally preserved across ages, state-specific temporal features, such as the frequency of expression and the amount of time spent in select states, varied by age in ways that were dependent on condition. Increasing age was associated with greater variability of connection strengths across time at rest, while there was a selective inversion of this effect in higher-order networks during implementation of cognitive control. The results suggest that development is characterized by the modification of dynamic coupling to both maximize and constrain functional variability in response to ongoing cognitive and behavioral requirements.