Puberty and functional brain development in humans: Convergence in findings?

Junqiang Dai, K. Suzanne Scherf

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Although there is a long history of studying the influence of pubertal hormones on brain function/structure in animals, this research in human adolescents is young but burgeoning. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of findings from neuroimaging studies investigating the relation between pubertal and functional brain development in humans. We quantified the findings from this literature in which statistics required for standard meta-analyses are often not provided (i.e., effect size in fMRI studies). To do so, we assessed convergence in findings within content domains (reward, facial emotion, social information, cognitive processing) in terms of the locus and directionality (i.e., positive/negative) of effects. Face processing is the only domain with convergence in the locus of effects in the amygdala. Social information processing is the only domain with convergence of positive effects; however, these effects are not consistently present in any brain region. There is no convergence of effects in either the reward or cognitive processing domains. This limited convergence in findings across domains is not the result of null findings or even due to the variety of experimental paradigms researchers employ. Instead, there are critical theoretical, methodological, and analytical issues that must be addressed in order to move the field forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100690
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
StatePublished - Oct 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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