Distinct linear and non-linear trajectories of reward and punishment reversal learning during development: Relevance for dopamine's role in adolescent decision making
ABSTRACT Abnormalities in value-based decision making during adolescence have often been attributed to non-linear, inverted-U shaped development of reward-related processes. This hypothesis is strengthened by functional imaging work revealing an inverted-U shaped relationship between age and reward-related activity in the striatum. However, behavioural studies have mostly reported linear rather than non-linear increases in reward-related performance. In the present study, we investigated the mechanisms underlying the development of reward- and punishment-related processing across four age groups using a reversal learning task previously shown to depend on striatal dopamine. We demonstrate both linear and non-linear age effects on distinct components of reversal learning. Specifically, results revealed a linear shift with age in terms of valence-dependent reversal learning, with children exhibiting better punishment than reward reversal learning, adults exhibiting better reward than punishment reversal learning and adolescents exhibiting an intermediate performance pattern. In addition, we also observed a non-linear, inverted-U shaped relationship between age and valence-independent reversal learning, which was due to aberrant ability of adolescents to update behaviour in response to negative performance feedback. These findings indicate that the (linear or nonlinear) nature of the relationship between age and reward learning depends on the type of reward learning under study.
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- "Direct empirical tests of this proposal are scarce thus far. Using a reversal learning task, Van der Schaaf et al. (2011) demonstrated that adolescents are indeed better able to change their responses after unexpected rewarding and punishing outcomes compared to both children and adults. Furthermore, a developmental neuroimaging study of reinforcement learning indicated that adolescents show exaggerated striatal responses to reward prediction errors, i.e., discrepancies between expected and actually obtained outcomes (Cohen et al., 2010). "
ABSTRACT: Developmental researchers have suggested that adolescents are characterized by stronger reward sensitivity than both children and younger adults. However, at this point, little is known about the extent to which developmental differences in incentive processing influence feedback-based learning. In this study, we applied an incentivized reinforcement learning task, in which errors resulted in losing money (loss condition), failure to gain money (gain condition), or neither (no-incentive condition). Children (10-11 years), mid-adolescents (13-14 years), and late adolescents (15-17 years) performed this task while event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. We focused our analyses on two ERP correlates of error processing, the error-negativity (Ne) and the error positivity (Pe) that are thought to reflect a rapid preconscious performance monitoring mechanism (Ne) and conscious detection and/or evaluation of response errors (Pe). Participants in all age groups responded more quickly and accurately in gain and loss conditions than in the no-incentive condition. The performance data thus did not support the idea that incentives generally have a greater behavioral impact in adolescents than in children. While the Ne was not modulated by the incentive manipulation, both children and adolescents showed a larger Pe to errors in the gain condition compared to loss and no-incentive conditions. This is in contrast to results from adult studies, in which the Ne but not the Pe was enhanced for high-value errors, raising the possibility that motivational influences on performance monitoring might be reflected in the activity of separable neural systems in children and adolescents vs. adults. In contrast to the idea of higher reward/incentive sensitivity in adolescents, our findings suggest that incentives have similar effects on feedback-based learning from late childhood into late adolescence with no changes in preferences for “trick over treat".Frontiers in Psychology 09/2014; 5:968. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00968 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This review summarizes evidence of dysregulated reward circuitry function in a range of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders and genetic syndromes. First, the contribution of identifying a core mechanistic process across disparate disorders to disease classification is discussed, followed by a review of the neurobiology of reward circuitry. We next consider preclinical animal models and clinical evidence of reward-pathway dysfunction in a range of disorders, including psychiatric disorders (i.e., substance-use disorders, affective disorders, eating disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders), neurodevelopmental disorders (i.e., schizophrenia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, Tourette's syndrome, conduct disorder/oppositional defiant disorder), and genetic syndromes (i.e., Fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Williams syndrome, Angelman syndrome, and Rett syndrome). We also provide brief overviews of effective psychopharmacologic agents that have an effect on the dopamine system in these disorders. This review concludes with methodological considerations for future research designed to more clearly probe reward-circuitry dysfunction, with the ultimate goal of improved intervention strategies.Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 07/2012; 4(1):19. DOI:10.1186/1866-1955-4-19 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neurodevelopmental changes in mesolimbic regions are associated with adolescent risk-taking behavior. Numerous studies have shown exaggerated activation in the striatum in adolescents compared with children and adults during reward processing. However, striatal sensitivity to aversion remains elusive. Given the important role of the striatum in tracking both appetitive and aversive events, addressing this question is critical to understanding adolescent decision-making, as both positive and negative factors contribute to this behavior. In this study, human adult and adolescent participants performed a task in which they received squirts of appetitive or aversive liquid while undergoing fMRI, a novel approach in human adolescents. Compared with adults, adolescents showed greater behavioral and striatal sensitivity to both appetitive and aversive stimuli, an effect that was exaggerated in response to delivery of the aversive stimulus. Collectively, these findings contribute to understanding how neural responses to positive and negative outcomes differ between adolescents and adults and how they may influence adolescent behavior.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 11/2012; 25(2). DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00326 · 4.69 Impact Factor