Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
University College London | UCL · Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

About

188
Publications
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19,389
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Publications

Publications (188)
Article
Random-Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Models allow for the decomposition of measurements into between- and within-person components and have hence become popular for testing developmental hypotheses. Here, we describe how developmental researchers can implement, test and interpret interaction effects in such models using an empirical example from dev...
Preprint
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Introduction Scalable psychological treatments to address depression amongst adolescents are urgently needed. This is particularly relevant to low- and middle-income countries where 90% of the world’s adolescents live, socioeconomic adversities affecting mental ill-health are prevalent, and mental health service resources remain very limited. Whils...
Article
Full-text available
Background Previous research suggests that mindfulness training (MT) appears effective at improving mental health in young people. MT is proposed to work through improving executive control in affectively laden contexts. However, it is unclear whether MT improves such control in young people. MT appears to mitigate mental health difficulties during...
Article
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Background Education is broader than academic teaching. It includes teaching students social–emotional skills both directly and indirectly through a positive school climate. Objective To evaluate if a universal school-based mindfulness training (SBMT) enhances teacher mental health and school climate. Methods The My Resilience in Adolescence para...
Article
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Background Systematic reviews suggest school-based mindfulness training (SBMT) shows promise in promoting student mental health. Objective The My Resilience in Adolescence (MYRIAD) Trial evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of SBMT compared with teaching-as-usual (TAU). Methods MYRIAD was a parallel group, cluster-randomised control...
Article
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Background Preventing mental health problems in early adolescence is a priority. School-based mindfulness training (SBMT) is an approach with mixed evidence. Objectives To explore for whom SBMT does/does not work and what influences outcomes. Methods The My Resilience in Adolescence was a parallel-group, cluster randomised controlled trial (K=84...
Preprint
Adolescence is a period of life when young people increasingly define themselves through peer comparison and are vulnerable to developing mental health problems. In the current study, we investigated whether the subjective experience of economic disadvantage is associated with social difficulties and poorer mental health in early adolescence. We us...
Preprint
Matrix reasoning tasks are among the most widely used measures of cognitive ability in the behavioral sciences, but the paucity of matrix reasoning tests in the public domain complicates their use. Here we present an extensive investigation and psychometric validation of the matrix reasoning item bank (MaRs-IB), an open-access set of matrix reasoni...
Preprint
Background Individuals who belong to a sexual minority are at greater risk of adverse health and social outcomes. These effects are observed during adolescence, when many mental health problems, such as depression, first emerge. Here, we employed a network analytic approach to explore the role that sexual minority status plays in the links between...
Preprint
Random-Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Models allow for the decomposition of measurements into between- and within-person components and have hence become popular for testing developmental hypotheses. Here, we describe how developmental researchers can implement, test and interpret dynamic interaction effects in such models using an empirical example...
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between social media use and life satisfaction changes across adolescent development. Our analyses of two UK datasets comprising 84,011 participants (10–80 years old) find that the cross-sectional relationship between self-reported estimates of social media use and life satisfaction ratings is most negative in younger adolescents....
Preprint
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Mindfulness training programmes have shown to encourage prosocial behaviours and reduce antisocial tendencies in adolescents. However, less is known about whether training affects susceptibility to prosocial and antisocial influence. The current study investigated the effect of mindfulness training (compared with an active control) on self-reported...
Article
Full-text available
There is evidence that universal school-based mindfulness training (SBMT) can have positive effects for young people. However, it is unknown who benefits most from such training, how training exerts effects, and how implementation impacts effects. This study aimed to provide an overview of the evidence on the mediators, moderators, and implementati...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Decentering describes the ability to voluntarily adopt an objective self-perspective from which to notice internal, typically distressing, stressors (eg, difficult thoughts, memories and feelings). The reinforcement of this skill may be an active ingredient through which different psychological interventions accrue reductions in anxiet...
Preprint
Adolescence is an important stage of social development. While adolescents are prominent adopters of social media, little is known about whether digital interactions can fulfil the social needs of this age group. Here, we focus on one component of social interaction: self-disclosure. In a systematic review, we investigate the role of self-disclosur...
Article
Adolescence is an important stage of social development. While adolescents are prominent adopters of social media, little is known about whether digital interactions can fulfil the social needs of this age group. Here, we focus on one component of social interaction: self-disclosure. In a systematic review, we investigate the role of self-disclosur...
Article
Background: Adolescence is a sensitive period for the onset of mental health disorders. Effective, easy-to-disseminate, scalable prevention and early interventions are urgently needed. Affective control has been proposed as a potential target mechanism. Training affective control has been shown to reduce mental health symptoms and improve emotion r...
Preprint
Introduction. Decentering describes the ability to voluntarily adopt an objective self-perspective from which to notice internal, typically distressing, stressors (e.g. difficult thoughts, memories, and feelings). The reinforcement of this skill may be an active ingredient through which different psychological interventions accrue reductions in anx...
Article
Full-text available
Alterations to striatal reward pathways have been identified in individuals with psychosis. They are hypothesised to be a key mechanism that generate psychotic symptoms through the production of aberrant attribution of motivational salience and are proposed to result from accumulated childhood adversity and genetic risk, making the striatal system...
Article
Full-text available
Mindfulness training (MT) is considered appropriate for school teachers and enhances well-being. Most research has investigated the efficacy of instructor-led MT. However, little is known about the benefits of using self-taught formats, nor what the key mechanisms of change are that contribute to enhanced teacher well-being. This study compared ins...
Preprint
There is a sharp increase in depression in adolescence, but why this occurs is not well understood. We investigated how adolescents learn about social evaluation and whether learning is associated with depressive symptoms. In a cross-sectional school-based study, 598 adolescents (aged 11-15 years) completed a social evaluation learning task and the...
Preprint
Confirmation bias, the widespread tendency to favour evidence that confirms rather than disconfirms one’s prior beliefs and choices, has been shown to play a role in the way decisions are shaped by rewards and punishment, known as confirmatory reinforcement learning. Given that exploratory tendencies change during adolescence, we investigated wheth...
Article
There is a sharp increase in depression in adolescence, but why this occurs is not well understood. We investigated how adolescents learn about social evaluation and whether learning is associated with depressive symptoms. In a cross-sectional school-based study, 598 adolescents (aged 11-15 years) completed a social evaluation learning task and the...
Conference Paper
Background Sodium valproate is the most effective drug for treating genetic generalised epilepsies. However, MHRA guidance states that ‘Valproate should not be used in girls and women of childbearing potential unless other treatments are ineffective or not tolerated’ due to teratogenic effects and association with polycystic ovary syndrome. Some of...
Article
Adolescents are commonly thought of as risk takers. However, adolescents often avoid social risk taking, that is, the risk of being socially excluded by their peers. Here, we review evidence showing that the negative effects of social exclusion and loneliness are particularly high during adolescence, and that adolescents actively seek peer approval...
Article
Lockdowns and school closures deprive adolescents of typical social interactions. In this NeuroView, we explore how the quality of existing peer relationships might moderate—both positively and negatively—the impact of these restrictions on adolescent mental health, and we highlight the importance of individual differences.
Preprint
There is evidence that universal school-based mindfulness training (SBMT) can have positive effects for young people. However, it is unknown who benefits most from such training, how implementation quality impacts effects, and how training exerts effects. No known scoping reviews have comprehensively reviewed moderation, mediation and implementatio...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Recent studies suggest deteriorating youth mental health. The current UK policy emphasises the role of schools for mental health promotion and prevention, but little data exist on what aspects of schools explain pupils’ mental health. We explored school-level influences on the mental health of young people in a large school-based sample f...
Article
Full-text available
OBJECTIVE: Recent studies suggest deteriorating youth mental health. The current UK policy emphasises the role of schools for mental health promotion and prevention, but little data exist on what aspects of schools explain pupils' mental health. We explored school-level influences on the mental health of young people in a large school-based sample...
Preprint
Self-referential processing, the appraisal of how information relates to oneself, and perspective taking, the ability to take another person’s point of view, undergo continued development throughout adolescence. Research suggests a link between these processes in adults, but little is known about their relationship in adolescents. The current study...
Article
Full-text available
Successful navigation of the social environment is dependent on a number of social cognitive processes, including mentalizing and resistance to peer influence. These processes continue to develop during adolescence, a time of significant social change, and are underpinned by regions of the social brain that continue to mature structurally and funct...
Article
Full-text available
Background Cognitive mechanisms that characterize or precede depressive symptoms are poorly understood. We investigated cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between risk taking to obtain reward and adolescent depressive symptoms in a large prospective cohort, using the Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT). We also explored sex differences. Metho...
Article
Full-text available
We tested whether adolescents differ from each other in the structural development of the social brain, and whether individual differences in social brain development predicted variability in friendship quality development. Adolescents (N = 299, Mage T1 = 13.98 years) were followed across three bi-annual waves. We analysed self-reported friendship...
Article
Full-text available
Adolescence is associated with heightened social influence, especially from peers. This can lead to detrimental decision-making in domains such as risky behavior but may also raise opportunities for prosocial behavior. We used an incentivized charitable-donations task to investigate how people revise decisions after learning about the donations of...
Article
Background There is a sharp increase in depression in females in mid-adolescence, but we do not understand why. Cognitive theories suggest that people with depression have negative biases in recalling self-referential information. We tested whether recall biases were more negative in girls in early and mid-adolescence and were associated with depre...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Adolescents are particularly susceptible to social influence and previous studies have shown that this susceptibility decreases with age. The current study used a cross-sectional experimental paradigm to investigate the effect of age and puberty on susceptibility to both prosocial and antisocial influence. Methods Participants (N = 52...
Article
Full-text available
In adolescence, there is a heightened propensity to take health risks such as smoking, drinking or driving too fast. Another facet of risk taking, social risk, has largely been neglected. A social risk can be defined as any decision or action that could lead to an individual being excluded by their peers, such as appearing different to one’s friend...
Article
Adolescence (the stage between 10 and 24 years) is a period of life characterised by heightened sensitivity to social stimuli and the increased need for peer interaction. The physical distancing measures mandated globally to contain the spread of COVID-19 are radically reducing adolescents' opportunities to engage in face-to-face social contact out...
Article
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the widespread implementation of social distancing measures. Adhering to social distancing may be particularly challenging for adolescents, for whom interaction with peers is especially important. We argue that young people’s capacity to encourage each other to observe social distancing rules should be harnesse...
Preprint
NOW PUBLISHED: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30186-3. Adolescence is a period of life characterized by heightened sensitivity to social stimuli and the increased need for peer interaction. The physical distancing measures mandated globally to contain the spread of Covid-19 are radically reducing adolescents’ opportunities to engage in face-...
Article
Full-text available
In this review, we evaluate evidence for the hypothesis that developmental changes in emotion regulation tendencies during adolescence depend on the maturation of affective control. Affective control refers to the application of cognitive control to affective contexts, that is, the capacity to attend and respond to goal-relevant affective informati...
Article
Full-text available
Existing non-verbal ability tests are typically protected by copyright, preventing them from being freely adapted or computerized. Working towards an open science framework, we provide 80 novel, open-access abstract reasoning items, an online implementation and item-level data from 659 participants aged between 11 and 33 years: the matrix reasoning...
Article
Full-text available
Background: 75% of all mental health problems have their onset before the end of adolescence. Therefore, adolescence may be a particularly sensitive time period for preventing mental health problems. Affective control, the capacity to engage with goal relevant and inhibit distracting information in affective contexts, has been proposed as a potenti...
Article
Full-text available
Adolescence has been proposed to be a sensitive period of social development, during which the social environment has a heightened effect on brain and behaviour. As such, negative social experiences, such as social exclusion, may have particularly detrimental effects on psychological well-being. However, little is known about how social exclusion a...
Preprint
In this review, we evaluate evidence for the hypothesis that developmental changes in emotion regulation tendencies during adolescence depend on the maturation of affective control. Affective control refers to the application of cognitive control to affective contexts, that is, the capacity to attend and respond to goal-relevant affective informati...
Preprint
In adolescence, there is a heightened propensity to take health risks such as smoking, drinking or driving too fast. Another facet of risk-taking, social risk, has largely been neglected. A social risk can be defined as any decision or action that could lead to an individual being excluded by their peers, leading to a reduction in one’s social hier...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Up to 50% of children and adolescents growing up worldwide experience some form of adversity in early life. Childhood adversity (CA) is a major predictor of the development of mental health disorders in adolescence. However, not all adolescents who experience CA go on to develop psychopathology; their mental health functioning can be de...
Preprint
In the current study, we were interested in whether adolescents show a preference for social stimuli compared with non-social stimuli in the context of academic diligence, that is, the ability to expend effort on tedious tasks that have long term benefits. 45 female adolescents (aged 11-17) and 46 female adults (aged 23-33) carried out an adapted v...
Article
Full-text available
Dopamine transmission in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) supports working memory (WM), the temporary holding, processing and manipulation of information in one's mind. The gene coding the catechol‐O‐methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme, which degrades dopamine, in particular in the PFC, has a common single nucleotide polymorphism leading to two versions of...
Article
Full-text available
Background: 75% of all mental health problems have their onset before the end of adolescence. Therefore, adolescence may be a particularly sensitive time period for preventing mental health problems. Affective control, the capacity to engage with goal relevant and inhibit distracting information in affective contexts, has been proposed as a potenti...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Large population-based studies of neuropsychological factors that characterize or precede depressive symptoms are rare and we know little about gender differences in these associations. Methods: The Millennium Cohort is a representative UK birth cohort of children born between 2000 and 2002. The Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT) was complet...
Article
Full-text available
Difficulties in regulating affect are core characteristics of a wide range of mental health conditions and are associated with deficits in cognitive control, particularly in affective contexts, affective control. The current study explored how affective control relates to mental health over the course of adolescence. We developed an Affective Contr...
Preprint
Background: 75% of all mental health problems have their onset before the end of adolescence. Adolescence, thus may be a particularly sensitive time period for preventing mental health problems. Affective control, the capacity to engage with goal relevant and inhibit distracting information in affective contexts, has been proposed as a potential ta...
Preprint
We provide 240 items for a novel, public-domain abstract reasoning task and present normative data from a sample of 659 participants aged between 11 and 33 years. Similar to existing tests of abstract reasoning and fluid intelligence, the ART requires participants to complete a series of matrix reasoning items. Each item consists of an incomplete m...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: 75% of all mental health problems have their onset before the end of adolescence. Adolescence, thus may be a particularly sensitive time period for preventing mental health problems. Affective control, the capacity to engage with goal relevant and inhibit distracting information in affective contexts, has been proposed as a potential ta...
Article
Full-text available
Basic perspective taking and mentalizing abilities develop in childhood, but recent studies indicate that the use of social perspective taking to guide decisions and actions has a prolonged development that continues throughout adolescence. Here, we aimed to replicate this research and investigate the hypotheses that individual differences in socia...
Data
eTable 1. Characteristics of Curriculum based interventions including population description, setting and intervention details. eTable 2. Characteristics of Family based interventions including population description, setting and intervention details. eTable 3. Characteristics of mindfulness & yoga interventions including population description, se...
Article
Full-text available
Importance Childhood and adolescence self-regulation (SR) is gaining importance as a target of intervention because of mounting evidence of its positive associations with health, social and educational outcomes. Objective To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of rigorously evaluated interventions to improve self-regulation in children a...
Article
IMPORTANCE: Childhood and adolescence self-regulation (SR) is gaining importance as a target of intervention because of mounting evidence of its positive associations with health, social and educational outcomes. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of rigorously evaluated interventions to improve self-regulation in children...
Article
Full-text available
Social influence occurs when an individual's thoughts or behaviours are affected by other people. There are significant age effects on susceptibility to social influence, typically a decline from childhood to adulthood. Most research has focused on negative aspects of social influence, such as peer influence on risky behaviour, particularly in adol...
Preprint
Basic perspective taking and mentalising abilities develop in childhood, but recent studies indicate that the use of social perspective taking to guide decisions and actions has a prolonged development that continues throughout adolescence. Here, we aimed to replicate this research and investigate the hypotheses that individual differences in socia...
Article
Adolescence is a period of life often characterized by behaviors that, prima facie, are irrational, such as seemingly excessive risk taking and impulsivity. However, these behaviors can be interpreted as adaptive and rational if one considers that a key developmental goal of this period of life is to mature into an independent adult in the context...
Article
Full-text available
Adolescence is a period of social, psychological and biological development. During adolescence, relationships with others become more complex, peer relationships are paramount and social cognition develops substantially. These psychosocial changes are paralleled by structural and functional changes in the brain. Existing research in adolescent neu...