Neural correlates of incidental and directed facial emotion processing in adolescents and adults

Institute for Juvenile Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago, 912 South Wood Street (M/C 913), Chicago, IL 60612, USA.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 7.37). 12/2009; 4(4):387-98. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsp029
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "ul et al . , 2007 ) . However , adult sample did not show biased processing of negative stimuli at this early stage . These results were consistent with a recent functional MRI study showing greater paralimbic activation and enhanced emotional reactivity to emotionally salient faces in adolescents compared to adults during a non - emotional task ( Passarotti et al . , 2009 ) ."
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    • "Numerous neuroimaging studies have investigated face processing in adults; however, knowledge regarding the developmental course of such abilities remains scant. Differences in frontal activation between adolescents and adults have been reported in fMRI in emotional regulation tasks (Burnett et al., 2009; Passarotti et al., 2009), as well as in tasks of emotional self-regulation and empathy (Lamm and Lewis, 2010). The timing of brain processing in the development of emotional face perception throughout childhood and adolescence has been determined with event-related potentials (ERPs), with the early emotion-specific responses emerging only in adolescence (Batty and Taylor, 2006; Miki et al., 2011). "
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