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Prog Brain Res. 2013;202:347-68. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-62604-2.00018-6.

Development of cognitive and affective control networks and decision making.

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  • 1Centre of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. bhoomika@cbcs.ac.in

Abstract

Cognitive control and decision making are two important research areas in the realm of higher-order cognition. Control processes such as interference control and monitoring in cognitive and affective contexts have been found to influence the process of decision making. Development of control processes follows a gradual growth pattern associated with the prolonged maturation of underlying neural circuits including the lateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate, and the medial prefrontal cortex. These circuits are also involved in the control of processes that influences decision making, particularly with respect to choice behavior. Developmental studies on affective control have shown distinct patterns of brain activity with adolescents showing greater activation of amygdala whereas adults showing greater activity in ventral prefrontal cortex. Conflict detection, monitoring, and adaptation involve anticipation and subsequent performance adjustments which are also critical to complex decision making. We discuss the gradual developmental patterns observed in two of our studies on conflict monitoring and adaptation in affective and nonaffective contexts. Findings of these studies indicate the need to look at the differences in the effects of the development of cognitive and affective control on decision making in children and particularly adolescents. Neuroimaging studies have shown the involvement of separable neural networks for cognitive (medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate) and affective control (amygdala, ventral medial prefrontal cortex) shows that one system can affect the other also at the neural level. Hence, an understanding of the interaction and balance between the cognitive and affective brain networks may be crucial for self-regulation and decision making during the developmental period, particularly late childhood and adolescence. The chapter highlights the need for empirical investigation on the interaction between the different aspects of cognitive control and decision making from a developmental perspective.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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