[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adolescent risk-taking behavior has been associated with age-related changes in striatal activation to incentives. Previous cross-sectional studies have shown both increased and decreased striatal activation to incentives for adolescents compared to adults. The monetary incentive delay (MID) task, designed to assess functional brain activation in anticipation of reward, has been used extensively to examine striatal activation in both adult and adolescent populations. The current study used this task with a longitudinal approach across mid-adolescence and late adolescence/early adulthood. Twenty-two participants (13 male) were studied using the MID task at two time-points, once in mid-adolescence (mean age = 16.11; SD = 1.44) and a second time in late adolescence/early adulthood (mean age = 20.14; SD = .67). Results revealed greater striatal activation with increased age in high-compared to low-incen-tive contexts (incentive magnitude), for gain as well as for loss trials (incentive valence). Results extend cross-sectional findings and show reduced striatal engagement in adolescence compared to adulthood during preparation for action in an incentive context.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Behavioral inhibition (BI) is an early childhood temperament characterized by fearful responses to novelty and avoidance of social interactions. During adolescence, a subset of children with stable childhood BI develop social anxiety disorder and concurrently exhibit increased error monitoring. The current study examines whether increased error monitoring in 7-year-old, behaviorally inhibited children prospectively predicts risk for symptoms of social phobia at age 9 years.
A total of 291 children were characterized on BI at 24 and 36 months of age. Children were seen again at 7 years of age, when they performed a Flanker task, and event-related potential (ERP) indices of response monitoring were generated. At age 9, self- and maternal-report of social phobia symptoms were obtained.
Children high in BI, compared to those low in BI, displayed increased error monitoring at age 7, as indexed by larger (i.e., more negative) error-related negativity (ERN) amplitudes. In addition, early BI was related to later childhood social phobia symptoms at age 9 among children with a large difference in amplitude between ERN and correct-response negativity (CRN) at age 7.
Heightened error monitoring predicts risk for later social phobia symptoms in children with high BI. Research assessing response monitoring in children with BI may refine our understanding of the mechanisms underlying risk for later anxiety disorders and inform prevention efforts.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 04/2014; 53(4):447-55. · 6.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Behavioral inhibition (BI) is a temperament associated with heightened vigilance and fear of novelty in early childhood, and social reticence and increased risk for anxiety problems later in development. However, not all behaviorally inhibited children develop signs of anxiety. One mechanism that might contribute to the variability in developmental trajectories is the recruitment of cognitive-control resources. The current study measured N2 activation, an ERP (event-related potential) associated with cognitive control, and modeled source-space activation (LORETA; Low Resolution Brain Electromagnetic Tomography) at 7 years of age while children performed a go/no-go task. Activation was estimated for the entire cortex and then exported for four regions of interest: ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dorsal ACC), and dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). BI was measured in early childhood (ages 2 and 3 years). Anxiety problems and social reticence were measured at 7 years of age to ascertain stability of temperamental style. Results revealed that BI was associated with increased performance accuracy, longer reaction times, greater (more negative) N2 activation, and higher estimated dorsal ACC and DLPFC activation. Furthermore, early BI was only associated with social reticence at age 7 at higher (more negative) levels of N2 activation or higher estimated dorsal ACC or DLPFC activation. Results are discussed in the context of overcontrolled behavior contributing to social reticence and signs of anxiety in middle childhood.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adolescent risk-taking behavior has been associated with age-related changes in striatal activation to incentives. Previous cross-sectional studies have shown both increased and decreased striatal activation to incentives for adolescents compared to adults. The monetary incentive delay (MID) task, designed to assess functional brain activation in anticipation of reward, has been used extensively to examine striatal activation in both adult and adolescent populations. The current study used this task with a longitudinal approach across mid-adolescence and late adolescence/early adulthood. Twenty-two participants (13 male) were studied using the MID task at two time-points, once in mid-adolescence (mean age = 16.11; SD = 1.44) and a second time in late adolescence/early adulthood (mean age = 20.14; SD = .67). Results revealed greater striatal activation with increased age in high- compared to low-incentive contexts (incentive magnitude), for gain as well as for loss trials (incentive valence). Results extend cross-sectional findings and show reduced striatal engagement in adolescence compared to adulthood during preparation for action in an incentive context.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The canonical AX-CPT task measures two forms of cognitive control: sustained goal-oriented control ("proactive" control) and transient changes in cognitive control following unexpected events ("reactive" control). We modified this task by adding negative and neutral International Affective Picture System (IAPS) pictures to assess the effects of negative emotion on these two forms of cognitive control. Proactive and reactive control styles were assessed based on measures of behavior and electrophysiology, including the N2 event-related potential component and source space activation (Low Resolution Tomography [LORETA]). We found slower reaction-times and greater DLPFC activation for negative relative to neutral stimuli. Additionally, we found that a proactive style of responding was related to less prefrontal activation (interpreted to reflect increased efficiency of processing) during actively maintained previously cued information and that a reactive style of responding was related to less prefrontal activation (interpreted to reflect increased efficiency of processing) during just-in-time environmentally triggered information. This pattern of results was evident in relatively neutral contexts, but in the face of negative emotion, these associations were not found, suggesting potential response style-by-emotion interaction effects on prefrontal neural activation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Past studies have shown that aggressive children exhibit rigid (rather than flexible) parent-child interactions; these rigid repertoires may provide the context through which children fail to acquire emotion-regulation skills. Difficulties in regulating emotion are associated with minimal activity in dorsal systems in the cerebral cortex, for example, the anterior cingulate cortex. The current study aimed to integrate parent-child and neurocognitive indices of emotion regulation and examine their associations for the first time. Sixty children (8-12 years old) referred for treatment for aggression underwent two assessments. Brain processes related to emotion regulation were assessed using dense-array EEG with a computerized go/no-go task. The N2 amplitudes thought to tap inhibitory control were recorded, and a source analysis was conducted. In the second assessment, parents and children were videotaped while trying to solve a conflict topic. State space grids were used to derive two dynamic flexibility parameters from the coded videotapes: (a) the number of transitions between emotional states and (b) the dispersion of emotional states, based on proportional durations in each state. The regression results showed that flexibility measures were not related to N2 amplitudes. However, flexibility measures were significantly associated with the ratio of dorsal to ventral source activation: for transitions, ΔR 2 = .27, F (1, 34) = 13.13, p = .001; for dispersion, ΔR 2 = .29, F (1, 35) = 14.76, p < .001. Thus, in support of our main hypothesis, greater dyadic flexibility was associated with a higher ratio of dorsomedial to ventral activation, suggesting that children with more flexible parent-child interactions are able to recruit relatively more dorsomedial activity in challenging situations.
Development and Psychopathology 08/2012; 24(3):1019-29. · 4.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neural correlates of cognitive control for typically developing 9-year-old children were examined using dense-array ERPs and estimates of cortical activation (LORETA) during a go/no-go task with two conditions: a neutral picture condition and an affectively charged picture condition. Activation was estimated for the entire cortex after which data were exported for four regions of interests (ROIs): ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and orbitofrontal/ventromedial prefrontal cortex (OFC/VMPFC). Results revealed faster reaction times, greater N2 activation, and greater prefrontal activation for the affectively charged picture condition than the neutral picture condition. The findings are discussed in reference to the impact of affective stimuli on recruitment of specific brain regions involved in cognitive control.
Brain and Cognition 04/2012; 79(3):181-7. · 2.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emotion regulation is a key social skill and children who fail to master it are at risk for clinical disorders. Specific styles of emotion regulation have been associated with particular patterns of prefrontal activation. We investigated whether anxious aggressive children would reveal a different pattern of cortical activation than non-anxious aggressive children and normally-developing children. We examined the magnitude and timing of source activation underlying the N2-an ERP associated with inhibitory control-during a go/nogo task with a negative emotion induction component (loss of earned points). We estimated cortical activation for two regions of interest-a ventral prefrontal and a dorsomedial prefrontal region-for three 100-ms windows over the range of the N2 (200-500 ms). Anxious aggressive children showed high ventral prefrontal activation in the early window; non-anxious aggressive children showed high ventral prefrontal activation in the late window, but only for the duration of the emotion induction; and normally-developing children showed low ventral prefrontal activation throughout. There were no group differences in dorsomedial prefrontal activation. These results suggest that anxious aggressive children recruit ventral prefrontal activation quickly and indiscriminately, possibly giving rise to their rigid, threat-oriented approach to conflict. The late ventral prefrontal activation seen for non-anxious aggressive children may underlie a more delayed, situation-specific, but ineffective response to frustration.
Brain and Cognition 09/2011; 77(2):159-69. · 2.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current study directly investigated whether changes in the neural correlates of self-regulation (SR) are associated with the effectiveness of treatment for the externalizing problems of children.
Seventy-one children 8-12 years of age with clinical levels of externalizing behavior and their families completed a 3-month cognitive behavioral therapy program with a parent management training component. Electroencephalogram correlates of SR were evaluated before and after treatment with a go/no-go task requiring inhibitory control.
Results showed that neural markers of SR, such as the N2 and frontal P3 event-related potential magnitudes, differed between the clinical sample and a matched comparison group before treatment: the clinical sample had larger N2 magnitudes and smaller frontal P3 magnitudes. Children who improved with treatment demonstrated a marked decrease in the magnitude of the N2 in comparison with children who did not improve. For improvers only, source analyses during the time period of the N2 estimated activation decreases in medial and ventral prefrontal cortex as well as the anterior medial temporal lobe.
A decrease in N2 magnitudes and corresponding source activation in children who improved with treatment might reflect improved efficiency in the neural mechanisms of SR.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined the development of executive function (EF) in a typically developing sample from middle childhood to adolescence using a range of tasks varying in affective significance. A total of 102 participants between 8 and 15years of age completed the Iowa Gambling Task, the Color Word Stroop, a Delay Discounting task, and a Digit Span task. Age-related improvements were found on all tasks, but improvements on relatively cool tasks (Color Word Stroop and Backward Digit Span) occurred earlier in this age range, whereas improvements on relatively hot tasks (Iowa Gambling Task and Delay Discounting) were more gradual and occurred later. Exploratory factor analysis indicated that performance on all tasks could be accounted for by a single-factor model. Together, these findings indicate that although similar abilities may underlie both hot and cool EF, hot EF develops relatively slowly, which may have implications for the risky behavior often observed during adolescence. Future work should include additional measures to characterize more intensively the development of both hot and cool EF during the transition to adolescence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emotional reactions involve changes in both cognitive and bodily processes. Therefore, effective emotion regulation may also involve modulation of responses in both of these systems. The present study investigated the relationship between regulation of cognition and regulation of the heart in children and adolescents, using a go/nogo task in combination with the induction of negative emotions. Behavioral, temperamental and event-related brain potential (ERP) indicators of inhibitory cognitive control were collected, as was a measure of parasympathetic control of the heart (respiratory sinus arrhythmia, RSA). Independently of age, RSA was correlated with nogo N2 magnitudes during the emotion-induction procedure. RSA during the task was also correlated with N2 latencies and with behavioral accuracy before, during and after the emotion induction. Resting RSA was correlated with individual differences in the capacity for effortful cognitive control, as measured by questionnaire. These results suggest that emotional responses in seemingly distinct neurophysiological systems may be regulated in an integrated fashion throughout the developmental span tested.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the most important tasks of childhood is learning to self-regulate in the presence of negative emotions. Until recently, almost no research has examined the neurophysiological correlates of emotional self-regulation as it develops over childhood and adolescence. We were interested in plotting a fine-grained developmental profile of the neural underpinnings of self-regulation, in the context of negative emotion, for 7- to 14-year-old children. We predicted that children would recruit less cortical activation with age in the service of self-regulation, reflecting increased neural efficiency with development. We also predicted that children would recruit more cortical activation with increased negative emotion, possibly reflecting greater demand on cortical resources. We administered a Go No-Go task with an emotion induction block and we measured the amplitude of the N2, an event related potential associated with inhibitory control, as it varied with block and with age. Furthermore, we estimated activation for a ventral prefrontal region of interest (ROI; suggestive of orbital frontal, ventromedial prefrontal, or rostral anterior cingulate activation) and a dorsomedial prefrontal ROI (suggestive of dorsal anterior cingulate activation) frequently modeled as cortical generators underlying the N2. Results revealed a marginal decrease in mediofrontal scalp activation, but a more pronounced decrease in activation of the ventromedial prefrontal ROI, with age. There were no age-related changes in dorsomedial prefrontal ROI activation. Lastly, as predicted, we found increased ventral prefrontal ROI activation during the negative emotion induction, possibly reflecting greater recruitment of frontocortical resources underlying emotion regulation, but developmental change in this activation was no different than for the other conditions. Thus, both self-regulation in general and emotion regulation in particular recruited less cortical activation with age, suggesting more efficient cortical mechanisms of response inhibition.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children's behavior problems may stem from ineffective cortical mechanisms for regulating negative emotions, and the success of interventions may depend on their impact on such mechanisms. We examined neurophysiological markers associated with emotion regulation in children comorbid for externalizing and internalizing problems before and after treatment. We hypothesized that treatment success would correspond with reduced ventral prefrontal activation, and increased dorsomedial prefrontal activation, at the time point of an event-related potential (ERP) associated with inhibitory control. Twenty-seven 8- to 12-year-old children (with usable data) were tested before and after a 14-week community-based treatment program and assessed as to improvement status. Fifteen 8- to 12-year-olds from the normal population (with usable data) were tested over the same interval. All children completed an emotion-induction go/no-go task while fitted with a 128-channel electrode net at each test session. ERP amplitudes, and estimates of cortical activation in prefrontal regions of interest, were measured at the peak of the "inhibitory" N2 and compared between improvers, nonimprovers, and nonclinical children. ERP amplitudes showed no group differences. However, improvers showed an overall reduction in ventral prefrontal activation from pretreatment to posttreatment, bringing them in line with nonclinical children, whereas ventral activation remained high for nonimprovers. Both improvers and nonimprovers showed high dorsal activation relative to nonclinical children. Supplementary analyses indicated that only ventral prefrontal regions, and only within the N2 time window, showed decreased activity from pre- to posttreatment, suggesting changes in regulatory processes rather than in overall emotional arousal. These cortically mediated changes may permit a reduction in the overengaged, rigid style of emotion regulation characteristic of children with behavior problems.
Development and Psychopathology 02/2008; 20(3):913-39. · 4.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children with aggressive behavior problems may have difficulties regulating negative emotions, resulting in harmful patterns of interpersonal behavior at home and in the schoolyard. Ventral and dorsal regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) have been associated with response inhibition and self-control-key components of emotion regulation. Our research program aims to explore differences among aggressive and normal children in the activation of these cortical regions during emotional episodes, to the extent possible using electrophysiological techniques, to identify diagnostic subtypes, gain insights into their interpersonal difficulties, and help develop effective treatment strategies. This report reviews several recent studies investigating individual and developmental differences in cortical mechanisms of emotion regulation, corresponding with different patterns of interpersonal behavior. Our methods include event-related potentials (ERPs) and cortical source modeling, using dense-array electroencephalography (EEG) technology, as well as videotaped observations of parent-child interactions, with both normal and aggressive children. By relating patterns of brain activation to observed behavioral differences, we find (i) a steady decrease in cortical activation subserving self-regulation across childhood and adolescence, (ii) different cortical activation patterns as well as behavioral constellations distinguishing subtypes of aggressive children, and (iii) robust correlations between the activation of cortical mediators of emotion regulation and flexibility in parent-child emotional communication in children referred for aggressive behavior problems. These findings point toward models of developmental psychopathology based on the interplay among biological, psychological, and social factors.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 01/2007; 1094:164-77. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Psychologists consider emotion regulation a critical developmental acquisition. Yet, there has been very little research on the neural underpinnings of emotion regulation across childhood and adolescence. We selected two ERP components associated with inhibitory control-the frontal N2 and frontal P3. We recorded these components before, during, and after a negative emotion induction, and compared their amplitude, latency, and source localization over age. Fifty-eight children 5-16 years of age engaged in a simple go/no-go procedure in which points for successful performance earned a valued prize. The temporary loss of all points triggered negative emotions, as confirmed by self-report scales. Both the frontal N2 and frontal P3 decreased in amplitude and latency with age, consistent with the hypothesis of increasing cortical efficiency. Amplitudes were also greater following the emotion induction, only for adolescents for the N2 but across the age span for the frontal P3, suggesting different but overlapping profiles of emotion-related control mechanisms. No-go N2 amplitudes were greater than go N2 amplitudes following the emotion induction at all ages, suggesting a consistent effect of negative emotion on mechanisms of response inhibition. No-go P3 amplitudes were also greater than go P3 amplitudes and they decreased with age, whereas go P3 amplitudes remained low. Finally, source modeling indicated a developmental decline in central-posterior midline activity paralleled by increasing activity in frontal midline regions suggestive of the anterior cingulate cortex. Negative emotion induction corresponded with an additional right ventral prefrontal or temporal generator beginning in middle childhood.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 04/2006; 18(3):430-43. · 4.49 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dense-array (128-channel) electroencephalography (EEG) was used to record event-related potentials (ERPs) from 33 participants between 7 and 16 years of age while they performed a Go/Nogo task. The frontal (Nogo) N2 component of the ERP was taken as an index of cognitive control, and examined in relation to both age and independent assessments of executive function (EF), including the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), the Stroop task, a delay discounting task, and backward digit span. Better performance on the IGT and the Stroop task was associated with smaller N2 amplitudes, over and above effects of age. N2 latencies decreased with age but were not predicted by EF. Source modeling of the N2 revealed neural generators in areas suggestive of cingulate cortex and orbitofrontal cortex, and the locations of these generators varied systematically with EF (IGT and Stroop task): the cingulate generator was more anterior for good EF participants at all ages; the orbitofrontal generator was relatively left lateralized for younger and for poorer EF participants. Taken together, these findings suggest that age-related decreases in N2 amplitude, but not N2 latency, reflect the development of cognitive control and cannot be attributed solely to incidental changes that may affect assessments of the N2 (e.g., increases in skull thickness). Functionally relevant decreases in N2 amplitude may reflect changes in the regions of cortex giving rise to the N2.