Entering adolescence: resistance to peer influence, risky behavior, and neural changes in emotion reactivity.

TitleEntering adolescence: resistance to peer influence, risky behavior, and neural changes in emotion reactivity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPfeifer, JH, Masten CL, Moore WE, Oswald TM, Mazziotta JC, Iacoboni M, Dapretto M
JournalNeuron
Volume69
Issue5
Pagination1029-36
Date Published2011 Mar 10
ISSN1097-4199
KeywordsAdolescent, Adolescent Behavior, Adolescent Development, Analysis of Variance, Brain, Brain Mapping, Child, Emotions, Facial Expression, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Peer Group, Photic Stimulation, Puberty, Questionnaires, Risk-Taking
Abstract

Adolescence is often described as a period of heightened reactivity to emotions paired with reduced regulatory capacities, a combination suggested to contribute to risk-taking and susceptibility to peer influence during puberty. However, no longitudinal research has definitively linked these behavioral changes to underlying neural development. Here, 38 neurotypical participants underwent two fMRI sessions across the transition from late childhood (10 years) to early adolescence (13 years). Responses to affective facial displays exhibited a combination of general and emotion-specific changes in ventral striatum (VS), ventromedial PFC, amygdala, and temporal pole. Furthermore, VS activity increases correlated with decreases in susceptibility to peer influence and risky behavior. VS and amygdala responses were also significantly more negatively coupled in early adolescence than in late childhood while processing sad and happy versus neutral faces. Together, these results suggest that VS responses to viewing emotions may play a regulatory role that is critical to adolescent interpersonal functioning.

DOI10.1111/j.1460-9568.2012.08134.x
Alternate JournalNeuron