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Dev Cogn Neurosci [journal]
- But do you think I'm cool?: Developmental differences in striatal recruitment during direct and reflected social self-evaluations. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jan 26.
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.
- ERP correlates of word onset priming in infants and young children. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jan 8.:44-55.
Using word onset priming with early learned words, we tracked access to phonological representations and predictive phonological processing at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after birth. Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants heard German word onsets (primes) followed by disyllabic spoken words (targets). Primes and target onsets were either congruent or incongruent (ma - Mama vs. so - Mama [Engl. 'mommy']). For an adult control group, ERP differences were found for the N100 complex, which has been related to abstract auditory analysis; and for the P350 deflection, which has been related to lexical access. A combined analysis of all infants and young children revealed an immature instance of an N100 effect, suggesting adult-like abstract speech sound processing. A central negativity effect, which had formerly been obtained when adults or older children were engaged in a lexical decision task, suggests that adult-like predictive phonological processing is available early in infancy. However, the absence of a P350-like effect in the infant data suggests that adult-like access to phonological forms is not established in the first two years of life. Taken together, ERPs recorded in word onset priming proved useful in investigating early phonological processing without an explicit behavioral measure.
- How and where: Theory-of-mind in the brain. [REVIEW]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jan 25.:68-81.
Theory of mind (ToM) is a core topic in both social neuroscience and developmental psychology, yet theory and data from each field have only minimally constrained thinking in the other. The two fields might be fruitfully integrated, however, if social neuroscientists sought evidence directly relevant to current accounts of ToM development: modularity, simulation, executive, and theory theory accounts. Here we extend the distinct predictions made by each theory to the neural level, describe neuroimaging evidence that in principle would be relevant to testing each account, and discuss such evidence where it exists. We propose that it would be mutually beneficial for both fields if ToM neuroimaging studies focused more on integrating developmental accounts of ToM acquisition with neuroimaging approaches, and suggest ways this might be achieved.
- Exciting fear in adolescence: Does pubertal development alter threat processing? [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jan 28.
Adolescent development encompasses an ostensible paradox in threat processing. Risk taking increases dramatically after the onset of puberty, contributing to a 200% increase in mortality. Yet, pubertal maturation is associated with increased reactivity in threat-avoidance systems. In the first part of this paper we propose a heuristic model of adolescent affective development that may help to reconcile aspects of this paradox, which focuses on hypothesized pubertal increases in the capacity to experience (some) fear-evoking experiences as an exciting thrill. In the second part of this paper, we test key features of this model by examining brain activation to threat cues in a longitudinal study that disentangled pubertal and age effects. Pubertal increases in testosterone predicted increased activation to threat cues, not only in regions associated with threat avoidance (i.e., amygdala), but also regions associated with reward pursuit (i.e., nucleus accumbens). These findings are consistent with our hypothesis that puberty is associated with a maturational shift toward more complex processing of threat cues-which may contribute to adolescent tendencies to explore and enjoy some types of risky experiences.
- Kids, candy, brain and behavior: Age differences in responses to candy gains and losses. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jan 28.:82-92.
The development of reward-related neural systems, from adolescence through adulthood, has received much recent attention in the developmental neuroimaging literature. However, few studies have investigated behavioral and neural responses to both gains and losses in pre-pubertal child populations. To address this gap in the literature, in the present study healthy children aged 7-11 years and young-adults completed an fMRI card-guessing game using candy pieces delivered post-scan as an incentive. Age differences in behavioral and neural responses to candy gains/losses were investigated. Adults and children displayed similar responses to gains, but robust age differences were observed following candy losses within the caudate, thalamus, insula, and hippocampus. Interestingly, when task behavior was included as a factor in post hoc mediation analyses, activation following loss within the caudate/thalamus related to task behavior and relationships with age were no longer significant. Conversely, relationships between response to loss and age within the hippocampus and insula remained significant even when controlling for behavior, with children showing heightened loss responses within the dorsal/posterior insula. These results suggest that both age and task behavior influence responses within the extended reward circuitry, and that children seem to be more sensitive than adults to loss feedback particularly within the dorsal/posterior insula.
- Audiovisual temporal fusion in 6-month-old infants. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jan 19.:56-67.
The aim of this study was to investigate neural dynamics of audiovisual temporal fusion processes in 6-month-old infants using event-related brain potentials (ERPs). In a habituation-test paradigm, infants did not show any behavioral signs of discrimination of an audiovisual asynchrony of 200ms, indicating perceptual fusion. In a subsequent EEG experiment, audiovisual synchronous stimuli and stimuli with a visual delay of 200ms were presented in random order. In contrast to the behavioral data, brain activity differed significantly between the two conditions. Critically, N1 and P2 latency delays were not observed between synchronous and fused items, contrary to previously observed N1 and P2 latency delays between synchrony and perceived asynchrony. Hence, temporal interaction processes in the infant brain between the two sensory modalities varied as a function of perceptual fusion versus asynchrony perception. The visual recognition components Pb and Nc were modulated prior to sound onset, emphasizing the importance of anticipatory visual events for the prediction of auditory signals. Results suggest mechanisms by which young infants predictively adjust their ongoing neural activity to the temporal synchrony relations to be expected between vision and audition.
- Development of temperamental effortful control mediates the relationship between maturation of the prefrontal cortex and psychopathology during adolescence: A 4-year longitudinal study. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jan 8.:30-43.
This study investigated the relationship between the development of effortful control (EC), a temperamental measure of self-regulation, and concurrent development of three regions of the prefrontal cortex (anterior cingulate cortex, ACC; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, dlPFC; ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, vlPFC) between early- and mid-adolescence. It also examined whether development of EC mediated the relationship between cortical maturation and emotional and behavioral symptoms. Ninety-two adolescents underwent baseline assessments when they were approximately 12 years old and follow-up assessments approximately 4 years later. At each assessment, participants had MRI scans and completed the Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire-Revised, as well as measures of depressive and anxious symptoms, and aggressive and risk taking behavior. Cortical thicknesses of the ACC, dlPFC and vlPFC, estimated using the FreeSurfer software, were found to decrease over time. EC also decreased over time in females. Greater thinning of the left ACC was associated with less reduction in EC. Furthermore, change in effortful control mediated the relationship between greater thinning of the left ACC and improvements in socioemotional functioning, including reductions in psychopathological symptoms. These findings highlight the dynamic association between EC and the maturation of the anterior cingulate cortex, and the importance of this relationship for socioemotional functioning during adolescence.
- Learning to remember: The early ontogeny of episodic memory. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jan 13.:12-29.
Over the past 60 years the neural correlates of human episodic memory have been the focus of intense neuroscientific scrutiny. By contrast, neuroscience has paid substantially less attention to understanding the emergence of this neurocognitive system. In this review we consider how the study of memory development has evolved. In doing so, we concentrate primarily on the first postnatal year because it is within this time window that the most dramatic shifts in scientific opinion have occurred. Moreover, this time frame includes the critical age (∼9 months) at which human infants purportedly first begin to demonstrate rudimentary hippocampal-dependent memory. We review the evidence for and against this assertion, note the lack of direct neurocognitive data speaking to this issue, and question how demonstrations of exuberant relational learning and memory in infants as young as 3-months old can be accommodated within extant models. Finally, we discuss whether current impasses in the infant memory literature could be leveraged by making greater use of neuroimaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which have been deployed so successfully in adults.
- Accuracy of episodic autobiographical memory in children with early thyroid hormone deficiency using a staged event. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2014 Jan 3.:1-11.
Autobiographical memory (AM) is a highly constructive cognitive process that often contains memory errors. No study has specifically examined AM accuracy in children with abnormal development of the hippocampus, a crucial brain region for AM retrieval. Thus, the present study investigated AM accuracy in 68 typically and atypically developing children using a staged autobiographical event, the Children's Autobiographical Interview, and structural magnetic resonance imaging. The atypically developing group consisted of 17 children (HYPO) exposed during gestation to insufficient maternal thyroid hormone (TH), a critical substrate for hippocampal development, and 25 children with congenital hypothyroidism (CH), who were compared to 26 controls. Groups differed significantly in the number of accurate episodic details recalled and proportion accuracy scores, with controls having more accurate recollections of the staged event than both TH-deficient groups. Total hippocampal volumes and anterior hippocampal volumes were positively correlated with proportion accuracy scores, but not total accurate episodic details, in HYPO and CH. In addition, greater severity of TH deficiency predicted lower proportion accuracy scores in both HYPO and CH. Overall, these results indicate that children with early TH deficiency have deficits in AM accuracy and that the anterior hippocampus may play a particularly important role in accurate AM retrieval.
- Girls' challenging social experiences in early adolescence predict neural response to rewards and depressive symptoms. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Cogn Neurosci 2013 Dec 18.
Developmental models of psychopathology posit that exposure to social stressors may confer risk for depression in adolescent girls by disrupting neural reward circuitry. The current study tested this hypothesis by examining the relationship between early adolescent social stressors and later neural reward processing and depressive symptoms. Participants were 120 girls from an ongoing longitudinal study of precursors to depression across adolescent development. Low parental warmth, peer victimization, and depressive symptoms were assessed when the girls were 11 and 12 years old, and participants completed a monetary reward guessing fMRI task and assessment of depressive symptoms at age 16. Results indicate that low parental warmth was associated with increased response to potential rewards in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), striatum, and amygdala, whereas peer victimization was associated with decreased response to potential rewards in the mPFC. Furthermore, concurrent depressive symptoms were associated with increased reward anticipation response in mPFC and striatal regions that were also associated with early adolescent psychosocial stressors, with mPFC and striatal response mediating the association between social stressors and depressive symptoms. These findings are consistent with developmental models that emphasize the adverse impact of early psychosocial stressors on neural reward processing and risk for depression in adolescence.