Prosocial behavior is essential for forming and maintaining social relationships, which is an important developmental goal for adolescents. Various forms of prosocial behavior can be distinguished, including helping, cooperating, and giving. However, it remains unclear how these forms develop within individuals over the course of adolescence, both behaviorally and neurally.
Brainlinks is a large ongoing longitudinal project designed to gain a better understanding of age- and puberty-related change in brain function and structure related to prosocial behavior. Additional goals include testing the moderating role of social context, individual differences, and social experiences. Examples include individual differences in perspective taking, and social contextual familiarity and audience effects on giving.
The study consists of three waves, taking place in three consecutive years (2018, 2019 and 2020) in which adolescents (aged 9-18 years in 2018) will be followed over time. A unique aspect of the Brainlinks study is that 76 parents (mothers and fathers) participated during the first wave, completing a task battery very similar to the adolescents. This gives us an exceptional chance to examine how parents’ (prosocial) behavior and its neural correlates are related to that of their child. We are now also testing effects of prosocial interventions.
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 681632)