Developmental trajectories of cortical-subcortical interactions underlying the evaluation of trust in adolescence.
Social decision making is guided by the ability to intuitively judge personal attributes, including analysis of facial features to infer the trustworthiness of others. Although the neural basis for trustworthiness evaluation is well characterized in adults, less is known about its development during adolescence. We used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine age-related changes in neural activation and functional connectivity during the evaluation of trust in faces in a sample of adolescent females. During scanning, participants viewed masked presentations of faces and rated their trustworthiness. Parametric modeling of trust ratings revealed enhanced activation in amygdala and insula to untrustworthy faces, effects which peaked during mid-adolescence. Analysis of amygdala functional connectivity demonstrated enhanced amygdala-insula coupling during the evaluation of untrustworthy faces. This boost in connectivity was attenuated during mid-adolescence, suggesting a functional transition within face-processing circuits. Together, these findings underscore adolescence as a period of reorganization in neural circuits underlying socioemotional behavior.
Kragel, PA; Zucker, NL; Covington, VE; LaBar, KS
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