Development of the adolescent brain: Implications for executive function and social cognition

ArticleinJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47(3-4):296-312 · March 2006with63 Reads
DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01611.x · Source: PubMed
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.
    • "In particular, investigating neuropsychological dysfunctions as possible underlying mechanisms of the behavioral and emotional problems in 22q11DS may provide insight into the etiology of ASD and ADHD. Deficits in executive functioning (EF) that regulate behavior and thought (Anderson, 2001; Blakemore & Choudhury, 2006) have been found to underlie behavior and adaptation problems observed in ADHD (Barkley, 1997; Sonuga-Barke, 2003) and ASD (Gargaro, Rinehart, Bradshaw, Tonge, & Sheppard, 2011; Hill, 2004; Ozonoff, Pennington, & Rogers, 1991). EF could therefore be important in determining vulnerability to ASD and ADHD symptomatology in individuals with 22q11DS, which may help to develop interventions that improve cognitive functioning in children with 22q11DS, as recently demonstrated in adolescents with 22q11DS (Harrell et al., 2013). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS; velo-cardio-facial-syndrome) are at risk for the developmental disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this study, the relation between executive functioning (EF) and the severity of ADHD and ASD symptoms is examined, since EF is known to be important in relation to emotional and behavioral problems. The participants consist of 58 children (38 females) with a mean age of 13.5 years (SD 2.6). Standardized assessment was used to evaluate the severity of ASD and ADHD symptomatology. The major aspects of EF, i.e., cognitive flexibility, inhibition, sustained attention, distractibility, working memory and reaction speed, were evaluated. The profile of EF in 22q11DS was found to be characterized by weaker performance compared to the norms on all subdomains of EF. Poor cognitive flexibility and inhibition, as well as high distractibility, were found to be related to more severe ASD symptoms, while poor quality of sustained attention and high distractibility were found to be related to more severe ADHD symptoms. It is concluded that children with 22q11DS experience impairments in EF, and that the degree of impairment on specific EF subdomains is related to the severity of ASD and/or ADHD symptomatology. These results may help in defining the mediating role of neurocognitive dysfunctions in the development of social and behavioral problems in 22q11DS.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2016
    • "The uncinate fasciculus connects temporal limbic regions such as the hippocampus and amygdala to the IFG and orbitofrontal gyrus (Kier et al. 2004). The findings of increased white matter connectivity during adolescence and decreases associated with AVH in adulthood may indicate an aberrant developmental trajectory in which early maturation of connectivity in language and emotional brain networks could introduce a mismatch with the maturation of executive control also occurring during this period (Blakemore & Choudhury, 2006 ), rendering the system more susceptible to errors of self-source monitoring and inhibition (Waters et al. 2012 ). However, longitudinal investigations are much needed to support this. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are a frequently occurring phenomenon in the general population and are considered a psychotic symptom when presented in the context of a psychiatric disorder. Neuroimaging literature has shown that AVH are subserved by a variety of alterations in brain structure and function, which primarily concentrate around brain regions associated with the processing of auditory verbal stimuli and with executive control functions. However, the direction of association between AVH and brain function remains equivocal in certain research areas and needs to be carefully reviewed and interpreted. When AVH have significant impact on daily functioning, several efficacious treatments can be attempted such as antipsychotic medication, brain stimulation and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Interestingly, the neural correlates of these treatments largely overlap with brain regions involved in AVH. This suggests that the efficacy of treatment corresponds to a normalization of AVH-related brain activity. In this selected review, we give a compact yet comprehensive overview of the structural and functional neuroimaging literature on AVH, with a special focus on the neural correlates of efficacious treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2016
    • "In bipolar disorder, we found that executive functioning has a positive relationship with self-reflectiveness. Executive functioning refers to activities in the prefrontal cortex facilitating the control and regulation of our behaviour (Blakemore & Choudhury, 2006 ) and has been deemed vital for self-knowledge and metacognitive functioning (Miyake et al., 2000). Taken together with our results, this implies that in bipolar disorder at least, better executive functioning is important for the flexibility of thought and for the ability to abstract reason and is as such linked to a higher level of cognitive insight, specifically self-reflective ability. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: The pattern of associations between clinical insight, cognitive insight, and neurocognitive functioning was assessed in bipolar disorder patients. Methods: Data from 42 bipolar disorder patients were examined. Cognitive insight was measured using the Beck Cognitive Insight Scale (BCIS). The BCIS is a 15-item self-report instrument consisting of two subscales, self-reflectiveness and self-certainty. Clinical insight was measured by the use of the item G12 of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Neurocognitive functioning was assessed using the International Society for Bipolar Disorders-Battery for Assessment of Neurocognition. Results: Correlation analyses revealed significant positive associations between self-reflectiveness and speed of processing, attention, working memory, visual learning, and reasoning and problem solving. The subscale self-certainty was negatively correlated to working memory, however, this correlation disappeared when we controlled for confounding variables. No correlations between clinical insight and neurocognition were found. In addition, there was no association between cognitive insight and clinical insight. Conclusion: Better neurocognitive functioning was more related to higher levels of self-reflectiveness than to diminished self-certainty.
    Article · Feb 2016
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