SUNDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- As children mature,
increased synchronization between specific areas of the brain alter
how they view themselves and others, a new study suggests.
This includes an increasing aptitude for introspection,
Georgetown University Medical Center researchers used functional
MRI to examine the activity of the five scattered brain regions
that comprise what's known as the default-mode network (DMN).
It's believed that the DMN -- which is only active when the mind
is at rest and allowed to wander or daydream -- plays an important
role in a person's introspective understanding of themselves and
others, and in the formation of beliefs, intentions and desires
through autobiographical memory, the study authors explained.
The researchers found that the DMN regions don't yet work
together in children ages 6 to 9. These areas light up in an fMRI
scan (which tracks brain activity in real time), but they do not do
so simultaneously. However, by ages 10 to 12, the regions begin to
function together and at ages 13 to 19 they're fully
"These results suggest that children develop introspection over time as their brains develop," first author and neuroscientist Stuart Washington said in a GUMC news release. "Before then they are somewhat egocentric, which is not to mean that they are negatively self-centered, but they think that everyone views the world in the same way they do. They lack perspective in that way."
The study was to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of
the Society for Neuroscience, in San Diego.
The team also pointed out that previous research has suggested
that the DMN is not well synchronized in many people with
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more