Sustained and transient signals were compared in a group of 7-8-year-old children and a group of adults performing the same cognitive task using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in conjunction with a mixed blocked/event-related design. Results revealed several regions, including a region in the right lateral inferior frontal gyrus, that exhibited opposing developmental trajectories in sustained and transient signals-in particular, decreased sustained signals and increased transient signals with age. Re-analysis of the data assuming "blocked" and "event- related" designs, as opposed to a mixed design, produced different results. In combination, these results may help to explain contradictory findings in the literature regarding the direction of neural development in frontal cortex. Moreover, these results underscore the value of separating sustained and transient signals in fMRI studies of development.