[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prior studies have suggested that positive social interactions are experienced as rewarding. Yet, it is not well understood how social relationships influence neural responses to other persons' gains. In this study, we investigated neural responses during a gambling task in which healthy participants (N=31; 18 females) could win or lose money for themselves, their best friend or a disliked other (antagonist). At the moment of receiving outcome, person-related activity was observed in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), precuneus and temporal parietal junction (TPJ), showing higher activity for friends and antagonists than for self, and this activity was independent of outcome. The only region showing an interaction between the person participants played for and outcome was the ventral striatum. Specifically, the striatum was more active following gains than losses for self and friends, whereas for the antagonist this pattern was reversed. Together these results show that, in a context with social and reward information, social aspects are processed in brain regions associated with social cognition (mPFC, TPJ) and reward aspects are processed in primary reward areas (striatum). Furthermore, there is an interaction of social and reward information in the striatum, such that reward related activity was dependent on social relationship.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 05/2013; · 5.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined punishment of excluders and compensation of victims after observing an instance of social exclusion at various phases of adolescent development. Participants (n = 183; age 9 to 22 years) were first included in a virtual ball-tossing game, Cyberball, and then observed the exclusion of a peer. Subsequently, they played economic games in which they divided money between themselves and the including players, the excluders, and the victim. The results demonstrate a gradual age-related increase in money given to the victim from age 9 to 22 and a gradual decrease in money allocated to the excluders from age 9 to 16 with an increase in 22-year-olds. Affective perspective-taking predicted both compensation of the victim and punishment of the excluders. Taken together these results show that across adolescence individuals sacrifice an increasingly bigger share of their own resources to punish excluders and to compensate victims and that taking the perspective of the victim enhances these decisions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined selection effects in behavioral similarity between adolescents and their new best friends after a school transition. Participants were 322 adolescents with a best friend in elementary school (Time 1, age 11) and a new best friend three years later in secondary school (Time 2, age 14). Three aspects of participants’ and their two best friends’ social competence were measured (antisocial behavior, prosocial behavior, low sociability). Structural equation modeling was used to predict the competence profiles of the adolescents’ new friends from their own and their previous friends’ social competence. There was evidence for the consistency across friendships in sociability and antisocial behavior. Findings indicate consistency and opportunities for change in friendship patterns across developmental transitions in adolescence.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 11/2012; 29(7):861-883. · 1.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated the neural mechanisms involved in the interpersonal effects of emotions-i.e., how people are influenced by other people's emotions. Participants were allocators in a version of the dictator game and made a choice between two offers after receiving written emotional expressions of the recipients. The results showed that participants more often made a self-serving offer when dealing with an angry recipient than when dealing with a happy or disappointed recipient. Compared to disappointment, expressions of anger increased activation in regions associated with self-referential thinking (anterior medial prefrontal cortex, aMPFC) and (emotional) conflict (anterior cingulate cortex). We found increased activation in temporoparietal junction for receiving happy reactions in comparison with receiving angry or disappointed reactions. This study thus emphasizes that distinct emotions have distinct effects on people in terms of behavior and underlying neurological mechanisms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vier typen relatienetwerken van 2518 basisschoolleerlingen (1188 meisjes; 1330 jongens) en 3325 adolescenten (1426 meisjes;
1899 jongens), namelijk 1. Alleen Vriendschap, 2. Vriendschap en Antipathie, 3. Alleen Antipathie en 4. Zonder Vriendschap en Antipathie, werden onderling vergeleken. Meisjes hadden vaker netwerktype Alleen Vriendschap; vooral
in het basisonderwijs hadden jongens vaker netwerktypen Alleen Antipathie, en Zonder Vriendschap en Antipathie. Meisjes scoorden
gunstiger op een aantal maten voor sociale competentie, wat paste bij het relatienetwerk Alleen Vriendschap; de scores van
jongens pasten bij hun meer heterogene relatienetwerken. Leerlingen met netwerktype Alleen Antipathie, vooral meisjes, scoorden
zeer ongunstig op sociale competentiematen. Bij jongens en meisjes en bij kinderen en adolescenten waren de vier relatienetwerken
op vergelijkbare wijze gerelateerd aan verschillende sociometrische statustypen.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Knowing how to adapt your behavior based on feedback lies at the core of successful learning. We investigated the relation between brain function, grey matter volume, educational level and IQ in a Dutch adolescent sample. In total 45 healthy volunteers between ages 13 and 16 were recruited from schools for pre-vocational and pre-university education. For each individual, IQ was estimated using two subtests from the WISC-III-R (similarities and block design). While in the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, participants performed a probabilistic learning task. Behavioral comparisons showed that participants with higher IQ used a more adaptive learning strategy after receiving positive feedback. Analysis of neural activation revealed that higher IQ was associated with increased activation in DLPFC and dACC when receiving positive feedback, specifically for rules with low reward probability (i.e., unexpected positive feedback). Furthermore, VBM analyses revealed that IQ correlated positively with grey matter volume within these regions. These results provide support for IQ-related individual differences in the developmental time courses of neural circuitry supporting feedback-based learning. Current findings are interpreted in terms of a prolonged window of flexibility and opportunity for adolescents with higher IQ scores.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Ultimatum Game (UG) is a valuable paradigm to study fairness considerations. Here, we tested developmental differences between altruistic and strategic motivations in fairness considerations using a version of the UG with hidden conditions. Participants were proposers and could divide coins between themselves and an anonymous other. Hidden information conditions involved division of coins where some coins were only visible to the participant (e.g., 8/2 condition where, from the total of 10 coins, 8 coins were visible to both players and 2 coins only visible to the proposer). In total, 22 young adults and 79 children between ages 8 and 13 played multiple one-shot versions of the UG with hidden conditions with anonymous others. Overall analyses confirmed validity of the task and showed that participants of all age groups had strategic intentions. Specific task analyses revealed that adults divided the coins equally in the standard UG conditions, but gave less to the second player in the hidden information conditions. The developmental comparisons revealed an age × condition interaction, such that adults and 10- to 12-year-old children differentiated between standard and hidden conditions more than 8- to 9-year-old children. These findings indicate that young children have a basic understanding of different strategic motives, but that behavior of adults and older children is driven more by strategic intentions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Risk taking is an integral part of learning and development, particularly during adolescence the prevalence of risky behaviors peak. It is hypothesized that the tendency to take risks is related to pubertal maturation, where there is interplay between gonadal hormones, the neural mechanisms that underlie affective (e.g., reward) processing, and risky behavior. To test this hypothesis, fifty healthy adolescents (aged 10-16 years; 33 girls, 17 boys) at different stages of puberty performed a gambling task while lying in the MRI scanner, and provided saliva samples for hormone assessment. Gonadal hormone levels were correlated with the neural response to receiving a monetary reward. Results showed that testosterone level correlated positively with activation in the striatum for both boys and girls, suggesting that individual differences in hormones at puberty are related to the way adolescents respond to reward, which can ultimately affect risk-taking behavior.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Social exclusion is a distressing experience and can result in a reduction of prosocial behavior. In this fMRI study we examined the neural networks involved in social exclusion and subsequent fairness considerations across adolescent development. Participants from 3 age groups (10-12, 14-16 and 19-21 year olds) participated in the study and performed two tasks; first, participants played Cyberball to induce feelings of social inclusion and exclusion, followed by a Dictator game in which participants were asked to divide coins between themselves and the players who previously included or excluded them. Results revealed a network of regions associated with social exclusion, which involve the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC)/ventral anterior cingulate cortex (vACC), subgenual ACC and the lateral PFC, as well as the insula and the dorsal ACC. Although social exclusion generated strong distress for all age groups, 10-12 year olds showed increased activity in the subgenual ACC in the exclusion game, which has been associated in previous studies with negative affective processing. Results of the Dictator game revealed that all age groups selectively punished the excluders by making lower offers. These offers were associated with activation in the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), superior temporal sulcus (STS) and the lateral PFC. Age comparisons revealed that adults showed additional activity in the insula and dorsal ACC when making offers to the excluders. The results are discussed in the light of recent findings on neural networks involved in social exclusion and the development of social brain regions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we examined developmental changes in the brain regions involved in reactions to unfair allocations. Previous studies on adults suggested that reactions to unfairness are not only affected by the distribution itself but also by the ascribed intentionality of the proposer. In the current study, we employed the mini Ultimatum Game (Falk, Fehr, & Fischbacher, 2003) to examine responder behavior to unfair offers of varying degrees of intentionality. Sixty-eight participants from four age groups (10-, 13-, 15-, and 20-year-olds) carried out the task while fMRI data were acquired. Participants of all ages showed activation in the bilateral insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) during rejection of unintentional but acceptance of intentional unfair offers. Rejection of unintentional unfair offers further involved increasing activation with age in the temporoparietal junction and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These findings provide evidence for an early developing insula-dACC network involved in detecting personal norm-violations and gradually increasing involvement of temporal and prefrontal brain regions related to intentionality considerations in social reasoning. The results are discussed in light of recent findings on the development of the adolescent social brain network.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The eyes provide important information for decoding the mental states of others. In this fMRI study we examined how reading the mind in the eyes develops across adolescence and we tested the developmental trajectories of brain regions involved in this basic perceptual mind-reading ability. Participants from three age groups (early adolescents, mid adolescents and young adults) participated in the study and performed an adapted version of the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes task', in which photographs of the eye region of faces were presented. Behavioral results show that the ability to decode the feelings and thoughts of others from the eyes develops before early adolescence. For all ages, brain activity was found in the posterior superior temporal sulcus during reading the mind in the eyes relative to a control condition requiring age and gender judgments using the same eyes stimuli. Only early adolescents showed additional involvement of the medial prefrontal cortex, the inferior frontal gyrus and the temporal pole. The results are discussed in the light of recent findings on the development of the social brain network.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 04/2011; 7(1):44-52. · 5.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fairness is a key concept in social interactions and is influenced by intentionality considerations. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we investigated the neural correlates of fairness by focusing on responder behavior to unfair offers in an Ultimatum Game paradigm with conditions that differed in their intentionality constraints. Brain activity underlying rejection vs acceptance of unfair offers appeared highly dependent on intentionality. Rejection of unfair offers when the proposer had no-alternative as well as acceptance of offers when the proposer had a fair- or hyperfair-alternative was associated with activation in a network of regions including the insula and the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex. These activations were interpreted as neural responses to norm violations because they were mostly involved when behavior was inconsistent with socially accepted behavior patterns. Rejection of unfair offers in the no-alternative condition further resulted in activity in the anterior medial prefrontal cortex and the temporoparietal junction, which was interpreted in terms of higher moral mentalizing demands required in social decision-making when rejection could not be readily justified. Together, results highlight the significance of intentionality considerations in fairness-related social decision-making processes.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 03/2010; 5(4):414-23. · 5.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of fairness considerations in decision making is not well understood. Here we tested the hypothesis that increased understanding of intentionality during adolescence underlies increased fairness considerations in social decision making. We conducted three experiments using an adapted version of the Ultimatum Game with participants during four stages of adolescence: 9, 12, 15, and 18 years of age. Participants made or evaluated monetary offers, and we manipulated the intentionality context of offers. Results show that strategic thinking is already present at 9 years of age. There was no age difference in fairness of offers when the responder could not reject an offer (Experiment 1), but when they could reject an offer there was an age-related increase in taking into account the perspective and intentionality of other players when making offers (Experiment 2) and evaluating offers (Experiment 3). Taken together, the results demonstrate a linear developmental transition in fairness considerations that may have important implications for our understanding of social interactions during adolescence.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Social competence, e.g., effective functioning in interpersonal relationships, plays an important role in well being during one's lifetime. Social skills, such as perspective taking and understanding intentionality, develop during childhood and adolescence. We hypothesize that these behavioral changes result from protracted development of brain regions involved in social interactions. We give a brief outline of behavioral and neuroimaging studies on fairness, trust, and reciprocity considerations in social decision making and the development of these considerations. We propose that a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the developing brain and sociocognitive skills is important for understanding the development of social relationships.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 07/2009; 1167:197-206. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated the heterogeneity of mutual antipathy relationships. Separate cluster analyses of peer interactions of early adolescents (mean age 11 years) and adolescents (mean age of 14) yielded 3 types of individuals in each age group, namely Prosocial, Antisocial, and Withdrawn. Prevalence analysis of the 6 possible combinations of types of individuals constituting mutual antipathy dyads yielded antipathy dyad types. The majority of these dyads consisted of a combination of 2 dissimilar types of individuals. Implications of the high prevalence of the Antisocial–Withdrawn antipathy dyad type are discussed.
Journal of Research on Adolescence 02/2009; 19(1):35 - 46. · 1.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Learning from feedback lies at the foundation of adaptive behavior. Two prior neuroimaging studies have suggested that there are qualitative differences in how children and adults use feedback by demonstrating that dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and parietal cortex were more active after negative feedback for adults, but after positive feedback for children. In the current study we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test whether this difference is related to valence or informative value of the feedback by examining neural responses to negative and positive feedback while applying probabilistic rules. In total, 67 healthy volunteers between ages 8 and 22 participated in the study (8-11 years, n = 18; 13-16 years, n = 27; 18-22 years, n = 22). Behavioral comparisons showed that all participants were able to learn probabilistic rules equally well. DLPFC and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex were more active in younger children following positive feedback and in adults following negative feedback, but only when exploring alternative rules, not when applying the most advantageous rules. These findings suggest that developmental differences in neural responses to feedback are not related to valence per se, but that there is an age-related change in processing learning signals with different informative value.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2009; 3:52. · 2.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Friendships form one of the most proximal contexts with a critical role in mental health and social and psychological development. Yet, the neurobiological basis of this crucial developmental factor is largely uninvestigated. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the interaction with friends is associated with specific activity increases in brain areas known to be involved in interpersonal phenomena, such as empathy, and in reward expectancy. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we assessed neural activity in a social interaction simulation task implementing the factors 'type of relationship' (peers vs. familiar celebrities) and 'emotional valence' (positive (liked), negative (disliked), and neutral (neither liked nor disliked)). In this design, all stimuli were selected individually for each of the 28 participants and positive peers constituted the friends. Participants were asked to approach a stimulus, to avoid it, or remain neutral. Behavioral results confirmed the expectations in the sense that the participants approached positive stimuli more often than they approached neutral, which were also more often approached than negative stimuli. Moreover, peers were more often approached than celebrities were. Imaging results revealed, among others, three regions of particular interest as selectively more strongly activated when subjects interacted with their friends than with other peers and celebrities: the amygdala and hippocampus, the nucleus accumbens, and the ventro-medial prefrontal cortex. These results might highlight the role of empathy and reward-related processes in friendship. Thus, we may have identified a potential mechanism by which friendships exert such a critical role in development and mental health.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated different types of friendships and the behavioral profiles of different types of friends in relation to individual adjustment. In 102 classes with preadolescents (mean age 11), 737 independent friendship dyads, and in 149 classes with adolescents (mean age 14), 1,102 friendship dyads were identified. At each age group, cluster analyses on the behavioral profiles of the dyads yielded three friendship types, with two types of friends within each friendship type: Socially Withdrawn friendship (Victimized Withdrawn and Prosocial Withdrawn friends), Prosocial friendship (High Prosocial and Less Prosocial friends), and Antisocial friendship (Bullying Antisocial and Antisocial friends). The behavioral profiles of the two friends in Prosocial friendships were marked by similarity and in the other two types by complementarity. Both Victimized Withdrawn and Bullying Antisocial friends were less adjusted than participants without friends while Prosocial friends were more adjusted.
Journal of Research on Adolescence 04/2007; 17(2):357 - 386. · 1.99 Impact Factor