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      Braking and Accelerating of the Adolescent Brain : ADOLESCENT BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR

      , ,

      Journal of Research on Adolescence

      Wiley

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          Abstract

          Adolescence is a developmental period often characterized as a time of impulsive and risky choices leading to increased incidence of unintentional injuries and violence, alcohol and drug abuse, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Traditional neurobiological and cognitive explanations for such suboptimal choices and actions have failed to account for nonlinear changes in behavior observed during adolescence, relative to childhood and adulthood. This review provides a biologically plausible conceptualization of the mechanisms underlying these nonlinear changes in behavior, as an imbalance between a heightened sensitivity to motivational cues and immature cognitive control. Recent human imaging and animal studies provide a biological basis for this view, suggesting differential development of subcortical limbic systems relative to top-down control systems during adolescence relative to childhood and adulthood. This work emphasizes the importance of examining transitions into and out of adolescence and highlights emerging avenues of future research on adolescent brain development.

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          Most cited references 89

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          Separate neural systems value immediate and delayed monetary rewards.

          When humans are offered the choice between rewards available at different points in time, the relative values of the options are discounted according to their expected delays until delivery. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined the neural correlates of time discounting while subjects made a series of choices between monetary reward options that varied by delay to delivery. We demonstrate that two separate systems are involved in such decisions. Parts of the limbic system associated with the midbrain dopamine system, including paralimbic cortex, are preferentially activated by decisions involving immediately available rewards. In contrast, regions of the lateral prefrontal cortex and posterior parietal cortex are engaged uniformly by intertemporal choices irrespective of delay. Furthermore, the relative engagement of the two systems is directly associated with subjects' choices, with greater relative fronto-parietal activity when subjects choose longer term options.
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            Delay of gratification in children

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              Peer influence on risk taking, risk preference, and risky decision making in adolescence and adulthood: an experimental study.

              In this study, 306 individuals in 3 age groups--adolescents (13-16), youths (18-22), and adults (24 and older)--completed 2 questionnaire measures assessing risk preference and risky decision making, and 1 behavioral task measuring risk taking. Participants in each age group were randomly assigned to complete the measures either alone or with 2 same-aged peers. Analyses indicated that (a) risk taking and risky decision making decreased with age; (b) participants took more risks, focused more on the benefits than the costs of risky behavior, and made riskier decisions when in peer groups than alone; and (c) peer effects on risk taking and risky decision making were stronger among adolescents and youths than adults. These findings support the idea that adolescents are more inclined toward risky behavior and risky decision making than are adults and that peer influence plays an important role in explaining risky behavior during adolescence.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Research on Adolescence
                Wiley
                10508392
                March 2011
                March 2011
                February 15 2011
                : 21
                : 1
                : 21-33
                Article
                10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00712.x
                3070306
                21475613
                70bfe08a-e6ff-4c73-be30-aa600e95c252
                © 2011

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