When Is an Adolescent an Adult? Assessing Cognitive Control in Emotional and Nonemotional Contexts Academic Article uri icon

Overview

MeSH Major

  • Arousal
  • Brain
  • Cognition
  • Emotions
  • Nerve Net

abstract

  • An individual is typically considered an adult at age 18, although the age of adulthood varies for different legal and social policies. A key question is how cognitive capacities relevant to these policies change with development. The current study used an emotional go/no-go paradigm and functional neuroimaging to assess cognitive control under sustained states of negative and positive arousal in a community sample of one hundred ten 13- to 25-year-olds from New York City and Los Angeles. The results showed diminished cognitive performance under brief and prolonged negative emotional arousal in 18- to 21-year-olds relative to adults over 21. This reduction in performance was paralleled by decreased activity in fronto-parietal circuitry, implicated in cognitive control, and increased sustained activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, involved in emotional processes. The findings suggest a developmental shift in cognitive capacity in emotional situations that coincides with dynamic changes in prefrontal circuitry. These findings may inform age-related social policies.

publication date

  • January 2016

Research

keywords

  • Academic Article

Identity

Language

  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0956797615627625

PubMed ID

  • 26911914

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 549

end page

  • 62

volume

  • 27

number

  • 4