Neural correlates of incidental and directed facial emotion processing in adolescents and adults.
ABSTRACT Our knowledge on the development of the affective and cognitive circuitries that underlie affect regulation is still limited. This functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study examined whether there is more efficient prefrontal modulation of affective circuits with development. Ten adolescents (mean age 14 +/- 2 years) and 10 adults (mean age 30 +/- 6 years) underwent two scanning conditions that required different levels of cognitive control over face emotion processing. A 'directed' emotion processing condition required judgment of facial expressions. An 'incidental' emotion processing condition required an age judgment. For the incidental emotion processing condition, adolescents, compared with adults, showed less activation in right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) and greater activation in paralimbic regions, suggesting greater emotional reactivity and immature prefrontal circuitries for affect regulation. For the directed emotion processing condition, adolescents, compared with adults, showed decreased recruitment of both the dorsal and pregenual right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), suggesting immature modulatory functions of the ACC during directed face emotion processing. These results indicate that the neural circuitries for affect regulation are still developing in adolescence and have not yet reached the adult level.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Mani N Pavuluri, Nov 03, 2014
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ABSTRACT: Previous studies investigated neural substrates of emotional face processing in adolescents and its comparison with adults. As emotional faces elicit more of emotional expression recognition rather than direct emotional responding, it remains undetermined how adolescents are different from adults in brain susceptibility to emotionally stressful stimuli. Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) were recorded for highly negative (HN), moderately negative (MN), and neutral pictures in 20 adolescents and 20 adults while subjects performed a standard/deviant distinction task by pressing different keys, irrespective of the emotionality of deviant stimuli. Adolescents exhibited more negative amplitudes for HN vs. neutral pictures in N1 (100-150 ms), P2 (130-190 ms), N2 (210-290 ms), and P3 (360-440 ms) components. In addition, adolescents showed more negative amplitudes for MN compared to neutral pictures in N1, P2, and N2 components. By contrast, adults exhibited significant emotion effects for HN stimuli in N2 and P3 amplitudes but not in N1 and P2 amplitudes, and they did not exhibit a significant emotion effect for MN stimuli at all these components. In the 210-290 ms time interval, the emotion effect for HN stimuli was significant across frontal and central regions in adolescents, while this emotion effect was noticeable only in the central region for adults. Adolescents are more emotionally sensitive to negative stimuli compared to adults, regardless of the emotional intensity of the stimuli, possibly due to the immature prefrontal control system over the limbic emotional inputs during adolescence.Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 04/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00098 · 4.16 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The uncinate fasciculus is a major white matter tract that provides a crucial link between areas of the human brain that underlie emotion processing and regulation. Specifically, the uncinate fasciculus is the major direct fiber tract that connects the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. The aim of the present study was to use a multi-modal imaging approach in order to simultaneously examine the relation between structural connectivity of the uncinate fasciculus and functional activation of the amygdala in a youth sample (children and adolescents). Participants were 9 to 19years old and underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Results indicate that greater structural connectivity of the uncinate fasciculus predicts reduced amygdala activation to sad and happy faces. This effect is moderated by age, with younger participants exhibiting a stronger relation. Further, decreased amygdala activation to sad faces predicts lower internalizing symptoms. These results provide important insights into brain structure-function relationships during adolescence, and suggest that greater structural connectivity of the uncinate fasciculus may facilitate regulation of the amygdala, particularly during early adolescence. These findings also have implications for understanding the relation between brain structure, function, and the development of emotion regulation difficulties, such as internalizing symptoms.NeuroImage 08/2013; 86. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.08.018 · 6.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Effective navigation of the social world relies on the correct interpretation of facial emotions. This may be particularly important in formative years. Critically, literature examining the emergence of face processing in youth (children and adolescents) has focused on the neural and behavioral correlates of processing adult faces, which are relationally different from youth participants, and whose facial expressions may convey different meaning than faces of their peers. During a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan, we compared concurrent neural and behavioral responses as youth (N=25) viewed validated, emotionally varied (i.e., anger, fear, happy, and neutral) adult and child face stimuli. We observed that participants made fewer errors when matching adult, compared to child, face stimuli, and that while similar brain regions were involved in processing both adult and child faces, activation in the face processing neural network was greater for adult than child faces. This was true across emotions, and also when comparing neutral adult versus neutral child faces. Additionally, a valence by stimuli-type effect was observed within the amygdala. That is, within adult face stimuli, negative and neutral face stimuli elicited the largest effects, whereas within the child face stimuli, happy face stimuli elicited the largest amygdala effects. Thus, heightened engagement of the amygdala was observed for child happy and adult angry faces, which may reflect age-specific salience of select emotions in early life. This study provides evidence that the relational age of the perceived face influences neural processing in youth.NeuroImage 07/2013; 83. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.07.002 · 6.13 Impact Factor