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Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2014 Apr;8:40-54. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2014.01.003. Epub 2014 Jan 26.

But do you think I'm cool? Developmental differences in striatal recruitment during direct and reflected social self-evaluations.

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Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, 97403-1227, United States.
Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, 97403-1227, United States. Electronic address:


The current fMRI study investigates the neural foundations of evaluating oneself and others during early adolescence and young adulthood. Eighteen early adolescents (ages 11-14, M=12.6) and 19 young adults (ages 22-31, M=25.6) evaluated whether academic, physical, and social traits described themselves directly (direct self-evaluations), described their best friend directly (direct other-evaluations), described themselves from their best friend's perspective (reflected self-evaluations), or in general could change over time (control malleability-evaluations). Compared to control evaluations, both adolescents and adults recruited cortical midline structures during direct and reflected self-evaluations, as well as during direct other-evaluations, converging with previous research. However, unique to this study was a significant three-way interaction between age group, evaluative perspective, and domain within bilateral ventral striatum. Region of interest analyses demonstrated a significant evaluative perspective by domain interaction within the adolescent sample only. Adolescents recruited greatest bilateral ventral striatum during reflected social self-evaluations, which was positively correlated with age and pubertal development. These findings suggest that reflected social self-evaluations, made from the inferred perspective of a close peer, may be especially self-relevant, salient, or rewarding to adolescent self-processing--particularly during the progression through adolescence - and this feature persists into adulthood.


Adolescence; Medial prefrontal cortex; Puberty; Self; Social cognition; Ventral striatum

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