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Neuron. 2011 Mar 10;69(5):1029-36. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.02.019.

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

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1227, USA. jpfeifer@uoregon.edu

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.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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PMID:
21382560
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3840168
Free PMC Article

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