The human cerebral cortex is made up of a mosaic of structural areas, frequently referred to as Brodmann areas (BAs). Despite the widespread use of cortical folding patterns to perform ad hoc estimations of the locations of the BAs, little is understood regarding 1) how variable the position of a given BA is with respect to the folds, 2) whether the location of some BAs is more variable than others, and 3) whether the variability is related to the level of a BA in a putative cortical hierarchy. We use whole-brain histology of 10 postmortem human brains and surface-based analysis to test how well the folds predict the locations of the BAs. We show that higher order cortical areas exhibit more variability than primary and secondary areas and that the folds are much better predictors of the BAs than had been previously thought. These results further highlight the significance of cortical folding patterns and suggest a common mechanism for the development of the folds and the cytoarchitectonic fields.

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