How does the adolescent brain develop over time?

Anna van Duijvenvoorde, Lara Wierenga, Marieke Bos, Lisa Schreuders, Neeltje Blankenstein, Berna Güroğlu


One of the main challenges of developmental cognitive neuroscience studies is to track changes in brain and behavior longitudinally. In the Braintime study we investigated developmental changes in childhood, adolescence and emerging adulthood in three domains: cognitive control, impulse regulation and social-emotional functions.

Study design:

Braintime is a longitudinal, developmental, neuroimaging study from childhood to adulthood.

Brainlinks is a large longitudinal project designed to gain a better understanding of age- and puberty-related change in brain function and structure related to cognitive and emotional  behavior. The study design consisted of a cognitive control task (learning and strategies) and a vicarious reward learning task. At the final wave we also examined ambiguity in risk-taking. In addition, a wide behavioral battery examined Impulse regulation, risk taking, delay of gratification and impulsive aggression. All functions were examined in relation to structural brain development (gray matter density and white matter tracts), the social environment and the role of gonadal hormones. Using multi-level models of change, we are testing changes in developmental trajectories over time. In addition, we test how brain structure and function predict individual differences in future wellbeing.

The study consisted of three waves, separated by two year intervals (2011, 2013 and 2015) in which individuals (aged 8-25 years in 2011) were followed over time. We plan an additional wave in 2022-2023, now that all participants are young adults, focusing on wellbeing.

This project was supported by an Innovative Ideas Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) and the Spinoza Prize, awarded to Eveline Crone, and a VENI grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO), awarded to Jiska Peper.



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