- Do you like me? Neural correlates of social evaluation and developmental trajectories.
- Social Neuroscience
- Volume | Issue number
- 5 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Social acceptance is of key importance for healthy functioning. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine age-related changes in the neural correlates of social acceptance and rejection processing. Participants from four age groups participated in the study: pre-pubertal children (8-10 years), early adolescents (12-14 years), older adolescents (16-17 years) and young adults (19-25 years). During the experiment, participants were presented with unfamiliar faces of peers and were asked to predict whether they expected to be liked or disliked by the other person, followed by feedback indicating acceptance or rejection. Results showed that activation in the ventral mPFC and striatum to social feedback was context-dependent; there was increased activation when participants had positive expectations about social evaluation, and increased activation following social acceptance feedback. Age-related comparisons revealed a linear increase in activity with age in these brain regions for positive expectations of social evaluation. Similarly, a linear increase with age was found for activation in the striatum, ventral mPFC, OFC, and lateral PFC for rejection feedback. No age-related differences in neural activation were shown for social acceptance feedback. Together, these results provide important insights in the developmental trajectories of brain regions implicated in social and affective behavior.
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