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1 - Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Reward Processing and Social Dysfunction across Childhood and Adolescence

Sat, March 23, 9:45 to 11:15am, Baltimore Convention Center, Level 3, Room 321

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

Across childhood and adolescence positive experiences with peers becomes increasingly salient and rewarding (Nelson et al., 2004). This developmental period also corresponds with increased rates of depression, social anxiety, and risk-taking behaviors (Kessler et al., 2012). Neuroscience-based research suggests these symptoms may be a consequence of altered neurocognitive mechanisms implicated in reward-based processing (Zald and Treadway, 2017). Yet, these relations are most commonly tested using non-social reward outcomes (i.e., money, food, points). Given that peers are a highly salient source of reward during childhood and adolescence, it is critical to test the specificity or generalizability of these relations within and across social and non-social domains. This symposium presents empirical work from four studies that measure response to reward across multiple domains (i.e., social and non-social contexts), levels of analysis (i.e., brain, behavior, eye tracking), and phases of development (i.e., early childhood through late adolescence), and relates those responses to symptoms of social dysfunction.

Paper 1 measures the effect of behavioral inhibition on attention towards social and non-social rewards in children as measured by mobile eye tracking during peer-based interactions. Paper 2 uses a novel paradigm to test relations between social anxiety and depressive symptoms and event-related potential responses to social and monetary reward in late adolescents. Paper 3 expands on this paradigm with fMRI to test relations between social anxiety and brain function in early adolescents. Paper 4 examines prospective relations between pubertal timing/tempo and fMRI-based measures of neural response to non-social reward and risky sexual behavior during mid adolescence.

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