Facing puberty: associations between pubertal development and neural responses to affective facial displays.

TitleFacing puberty: associations between pubertal development and neural responses to affective facial displays.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMoore, WE, Pfeifer JH, Masten CL, Mazziotta JC, Iacoboni M, Dapretto M
JournalSocial cognitive and affective neuroscience
Volume7
Issue1
Pagination35-43
Date Published2012 Jan
ISSN1749-5024
KeywordsAdolescent, Amygdala, Brain, Child, Emotions, Facial Expression, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Longitudinal Studies, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Prefrontal Cortex, Puberty, Thalamus, Visual Cortex
Abstract

Adolescence is marked by profound psychosocial and physiological changes. Although investigations into the interactions between these forces have begun to shed light on the neural correlates of affective processing during the transition to adolescence, relatively little is known about the relationship between pubertal development and emotion perception at the neural level. In the current longitudinal study, 45 neurotypical participants were shown affective facial displays while undergoing fMRI, at ages 10 and 13. Neural responses to emotional expressions at both time points were then correlated with a self-report measure of pubertal development, revealing positive associations with activity in amygdala, thalamus and visual cortical areas at age 10 that increased in magnitude and extent by age 13. At the latter time point, pubertal development was additionally correlated with enhanced responses to faces in temporal pole, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) and dorsomedial PFC. Longitudinal comparisons revealed that the relationships between pubertal development and activity in the amygdala, hippocampus and temporal pole were significantly stronger during early adolescence than late childhood. These results suggest that pubertal development per se is linked to neural processing of socioemotional stimuli, particularly with respect to the integration of complex perceptual input and higher order cortical processing of affective content.

DOI10.1111/j.1460-9568.2012.08134.x
Alternate JournalSoc Cogn Affect Neurosci