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Dev Psychopathol. 2014 Feb;26(1):229-43. doi: 10.1017/S0954579413000941.

Lasting associations between early-childhood temperament and late-adolescent reward-circuitry response to peer feedback.

Author information

  • 1University of California, Davis.
  • 2National Institute of Mental Health.
  • 3University of Massachusetts, Boston.
  • 4Tel Aviv University.
  • 5Pennsylvania State University.
  • 6University of Maryland, College Park.


Behavioral inhibition, a temperament identifiable in infancy, is associated with heightened withdrawal from social encounters. Prior studies raise particular interest in the striatum, which responds uniquely to monetary gains in behaviorally inhibited children followed into adolescence. Although behavioral manifestations of inhibition are expressed primarily in the social domain, it remains unclear whether observed striatal alterations to monetary incentives also extend to social contexts. In the current study, imaging data were acquired from 39 participants (17 males, 22 females; ages 16-18 years) characterized since infancy on measures of behavioral inhibition. A social evaluation task was used to assess neural response to anticipation and receipt of positive and negative feedback from novel peers, classified by participants as being of high or low interest. As with monetary rewards, striatal response patterns differed during both anticipation and receipt of social reward between behaviorally inhibited and noninhibited adolescents. The current results, when combined with prior findings, suggest that early-life temperament predicts altered striatal response in both social and nonsocial contexts and provide support for continuity between temperament measured in early childhood and neural response to social signals measured in late adolescence and early adulthood.

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