Neural substrates of the influence of emotional cues on cognitive control in risk-taking adolescents

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Abstract

Adolescence is a period characterised by increases in risk-taking. This behaviour has been associated with an imbalance in the integration of the networks involved in cognitive control and motivational processes. We examined whether the influence of emotional cues on cognitive control differs between adolescents who show high or low levels of risk-taking behaviour. Participants who scored especially high or low on a risky decision task were subsequently administered an emotional go/no-go fMRI task comprising angry, happy and calm faces. Both groups showed decreased cognitive control when confronted with appetitive and aversive emotional cues. Activation in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) increased in line with the cognitive control demands of the task. Though the risk taking groups did not differ in their behavioural performance, functional connectivity analyses revealed the dorsal striatum plays a more central role in the processing of cognitive control in high than low risk-takers. Overall, these findings suggest that variance in fronto-striatal circuitry may underlie individual differences in risk-taking behaviour.

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Lee, N. C., Weeda, W. D., Insel, C., Somerville, L. H., Krabbendam, L., & Huizinga, M. (2018). Neural substrates of the influence of emotional cues on cognitive control in risk-taking adolescents. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 31, 20–34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2018.04.007

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