Developmental changes in story-evoked responses in the neocortex and hippocampus

  1. Samantha S Cohen  Is a corresponding author
  2. Nim Tottenham
  3. Christopher Baldassano
  1. Columbia University, United States


How does the representation of naturalistic life events change with age? Here we analyzed fMRI data from 414 children and adolescents (5 - 19 years) as they watched a narrative movie. In addition to changes in the degree of inter-subject correlation (ISC) with age in sensory and medial parietal regions, we used a novel measure (between-group ISC) to reveal age-related shifts in the responses across the majority of the neocortex. Over the course of development, brain responses became more discretized into stable and coherent events and shifted earlier in time to anticipate upcoming perceived event transitions, measured behaviorally in an age-matched sample. However, hippocampal responses to event boundaries actually decreased with age, suggesting a shifting division of labor between episodic encoding processes and schematic event representations between the ages of 5 and 19.

Data availability

All neuroimaging data is available at:, and all behavioral data is available at:

The following previously published data sets were used

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Samantha S Cohen

    Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3007-5372
  2. Nim Tottenham

    Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Christopher Baldassano

    Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3540-5019


Andrew Africk

  • Samantha S Cohen

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Human subjects: Informed consent, and consent to publish, was obtained from all subjects 18 years and older. Consent was obtained from the parents or legal guardians for participants younger than 18 years. The neuroimaging portion of the study was approved by the Chesapeake Institutional Review Board ( The behavioral experimental procedures were approved by the Columbia University IRB (protocol number AAAS0252, for adult data, and AAAT8550, for child data).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Peter Kok, University College London, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Preprint posted: April 12, 2021 (view preprint)
  2. Received: April 15, 2021
  3. Accepted: June 17, 2022
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: July 5, 2022 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: July 27, 2022 (version 2)


© 2022, Cohen et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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  1. Samantha S Cohen
  2. Nim Tottenham
  3. Christopher Baldassano
Developmental changes in story-evoked responses in the neocortex and hippocampus
eLife 11:e69430.

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