Development of the adolescent brain: implications for executive function and social cognition. [Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Review]

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University College London, UK.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 03/2006; 47(3-4):296-312. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01611.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Adolescence is a time of considerable development at the level of behaviour, cognition and the brain. This article reviews histological and brain imaging studies that have demonstrated specific changes in neural architecture during puberty and adolescence, outlining trajectories of grey and white matter development. The implications of brain development for executive functions and social cognition during puberty and adolescence are discussed. Changes at the level of the brain and cognition may map onto behaviours commonly associated with adolescence. Finally, possible applications for education and social policy are briefly considered.

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    • "Second , adolescent AAI classifications could be affected by their capacity to take parents ' perspec - tives . Research has shown that the prefrontal cortex plays a critical role in perspective taking ( Choudhury , Blakemore , & Charman , 2006 ) , an ability that develops in parallel with brain maturation and psycho - social development but which becomes perturbed during puberty ( Blakemore & Choudhury , 2006 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: When measuring attachment security, considering the developmental period of interest is imperative when deciding which measure of attachment to use. In the current review, we note a lack of fit between the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) – which is widely regarded as the gold standard for assessing attachment in adolescence – and the stage-salient experiences of adolescence. First, we explore how some of these normative experiences complicate assessment of attachment in adolescence. Second, we review the tenets of the AAI and detail its use with teenagers. Third, we investigate attachment in the context of multiple key developmental tasks of adolescence, including maintaining open communication, self-concept and identity formation, deidealization of parents, autonomy development, the shift of attachment behavior toward peers, and advances in executive functioning through development of the prefrontal cortex. After noting incongruences between those tasks and the AAI, additional weaknesses to using the AAI in adolescence are considered, including: (1) the “generalized state of mind,” (2) reliance on retrospectively reporting childhood experiences with parents, and (3) the apparent abundance of dismissing individuals. Considering the presented evidence, we resolve that the AAI – although a well-established measure of adult attachment – is not a good fit to the developmental stage of adolescence and thus, the development of other assessments of parent–adolescent attachment is needed. We conclude by making suggestions for future assessments of parent–child attachment in adolescence.
    Developmental Review 05/2015; 36. DOI:10.1016/j.dr.2015.04.002 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Q4 These functions are important for the planning, organization and coordination of other cognitive processes (Baddeley, 1983; Miyake et al., 2000), and involve neural networks including different areas in the prefrontal cortex. In contrast to other brain regions (e.g., the visual cortex), the prefrontal cortex undergoes changes until late adolescence (Blakemore and Choudhury, 2006). Working memory, in particular, continues to mature until late adolescence (18–21 years; Luna et al., 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, it has been suggested that impairments in executive functioning might be risk factors for the onset of alcohol use rather than a result of heavy alcohol use. In the present study, we examined whether two aspects of executive functioning, working memory and response inhibition, predicted the first alcoholic drink and first binge drinking episode in young adolescents using discrete survival analyses. Adolescents were selected from several Dutch secondary schools including both mainstream and special education (externalizing behavioral problems). Participants were 534 adolescents between 12 and 14 years at baseline. Executive functioning and alcohol use were assessed four times over a period of two years. Working memory uniquely predicted the onset of first drink (p=.01) and first binge drinking episode (p=.04) while response inhibition only uniquely predicted the initiating of the first drink (p=.01). These results suggest that the association of executive functioning and alcohol consumption found in former studies cannot simply be interpreted as an effect of alcohol consumption, as weaknesses in executive functioning, found in alcohol naïve adolescents, predict the initiating of (binge) drinking. Though, prolonged and heavy alcohol use might further weaken already existing deficiencies. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 04/2015; 302. DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2015.04.003 · 3.83 Impact Factor
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    • "Often seen as an age of storm and stress when tremendous changes in the neural circuitry takes place, adolescence is viewed as a chaotic phase characterized by risk-taking and impulsive behaviors (Blakemore & Choudhury, 2006; Lenroot & Giedd, 2006). This ordeal has become more relevant in today's societies where psychosocial risks (e.g., depression, suicide) prevail. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated hope and meaning in life as potential predictors of depression among Filipino adolescents. Scales measuring hope, meaning in life and depression were administered to a group of tertiary-level students at a premier state university in Southern Luzon. Scores were analyzed using descriptive, correlation and regression statistics. Majority of the adolescent participants scored averagely in all of the scales. Findings revealed that adolescent depression is inversely correlated with hope and presence of meaning while positively correlated with search for meaning. Presence of meaning and hope (overall, pathway) were revealed as suppressive variables significantly predicting lower depression while search for meaning was a positive predictor. Moreover, while presence of meaning was found to be the best predictor of lower levels of depression, hope (overall, pathway) explained additional depression variance beyond what meaning in life accounted for. Based on these findings, family-and community-based support, referral system and other directions for research and interventions were discussed.
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