Achterberg, M., Dobbelaar, S., Boer, O. D., & Crone, E. A. (2021).
Perceived stress as mediator for longitudinal effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on wellbeing of parents and children.
Scientific Reports.

Dealing with a COVID-19 lockdown may have negative effects on children, but at the same time might facilitate parent–child bonding. Perceived stress may influence the direction of these effects. Using a longitudinal twin design, we investigated how perceived stress influenced lockdown induced changes in wellbeing of parents and children. A total of 106 parents and 151 children (10–13-year-olds) filled in questionnaires during lockdown and data were combined with data of previous years. We report a significant increase in parental negative feelings (anxiety, depression, hostility and interpersonal sensitivity). Longitudinal child measures showed a gradual decrease in internalizing and externalizing behavior, which seemed decelerated by the COVID-19 lockdown. Changes in parental negative feelings and children’s externalizing behavior were mediated by perceived stress: higher scores prior to the lockdown were related to more stress during the lockdown, which in turn was associated with an increase in parental negative feelings and children’s’ externalizing behavior. Perceived stress in parents and children was associated with negative coping strategies. Additionally, children’s stress levels were influenced by prior and current parental overreactivity. These results suggest that children in families with negative coping strategies and (a history of) parental overreactivity might be at risk for negative consequences of the lockdown.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-81720-8

Bannier, E., Barker, G., Borghesani, V., Broeckx, N., Clement, P., de la Iglesia Vaya, M., Emblem, K. E., Ghosh, E., Glerean, E., Gorgolewski, K., Havu, M., Halchenko, Y., Herholz, P., Hespel, A., Heunis, S., Hu, Y., Chuan-Peng, H., Huijser, D. C., Jancalek, R., Katsaros, V., Kieseler, M., Maumet, C., Moreau, C., Mutsaerts, H., Oostenveld, R., Ozturk Isik, E., Pascual Leone Espinosa, N., Pellman, J., Pernet, C., Pizzini, F., Trbalić, A., Toussaint, P., Visconti di Oleggio Castello, M., Wang, F., Wang, C., Zhu, H. (2021).
The open brain consent: informting research participants and obtaining consent to share brain imaging data.
Human Brain Mapping.

Having the means to share research data openly is essential to modern science. For human research, a key aspect in this endeavor is obtaining consent from participants, not just to take part in a study, which is a basic ethical principle, but also to share their data with the scientific community. To ensure that the participants’ privacy is respected, national and/or supranational regulations and laws are in place. It is, however, not always clear to researchers what the implications of those are, nor how to comply with them. The Open Brain Consent (https://open-brain-consent.readthedocs.io) is an international initiative that aims to provide researchers in the brain imaging community with information about data sharing options and tools. We present here a short history of this project and its latest developments, and share pointers to consent forms, including a template consent form that is compliant with the EU general data protection regulation. We also share pointers to an associated data user agreement that is not only useful in the EU context, but also for any researchers dealing with personal (clinical) data elsewhere.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25351

Becht, A. I., Nelemans, S. A., Branje, S. J. T., Vollebergh, W. A. M., & Meeus, W. (2021).
Daily Identity Dynamics in Adolescence Shaping Identity in Emerging Adulthood: An 11-Year Longitudinal Study on Continuity in Development.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

According to identity theory, short-term day-to-day identity exploration and commitment processes are the building blocks for long-term development of stable commitments in emerging adulthood. This key assumption was tested in a longitudinal study including 494 individuals (43% girls, Mage T1 = 13.31 years, range 11.01–14.86 years) who were followed from adolescence into emerging adulthood, covering ages 13 to 24 years. In the first five years, adolescents reported on their daily identity processes (i.e., commitment, reconsideration and in-depth exploration) across 75 assessment days. Subsequently, they reported on their identity across four (bi-) annual waves in emerging adulthood. Findings confirmed the existence of a dual-cycle process model of identity formation and identity maintenance that operated at the within-person level across days during adolescence. Moreover, individual differences in these short-term identity processes in adolescence predicted individual differences in identity development in emerging adulthood. Specifically, those adolescents with low daily commitment levels, and high levels of identity reconsideration were more likely to maintain weak identity commitments and high identity uncertainty in emerging adulthood. Also, those adolescents characterized by stronger daily changes in identity commitments and continuing day-to-day identity uncertainty maintained the highest identity uncertainty in emerging adulthood. These results support the view of continuity in identity development from short-term daily identity dynamics in adolescence to long-term identity development in emerging adulthood.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-020-01370-3

te Brinke, L. W., Schuiringa, H. D., & Matthys, W. (2021).
Emotion regulation and angry mood among adolescents with externalizing behavior and intellectual disabilities.
Research in Developmental Disabilities.


Background and aims
Cognitive behavior therapy targeting emotion regulation is found to be effective in decreasing externalizing problems, but little is known about the emotion regulation capacities of adolescents with externalizing problems and Mild Intellectual Disabilities or Borderline Intellectual Functioning (MID-BIF). Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare emotion (i.e., anger) regulation capacities, angry mood level and angry mood variability between two groups: adolescents with externalizing problems and MID-BIF and adolescents with externalizing problems and average intelligence (AIQ).

Methods and procedures
Participants in the MID-BIF (n = 42, Mage = 15.52, SD = 1.43) and AIQ (n = 39, Mage = 13.67, SD = 1.06) group completed questionnaires about emotion regulation difficulties, emotion regulation strategies, and angry mood.

Outcomes and results
Adolescents in the MID-BIF group reported fewer emotion regulation difficulties, fewer maladaptive regulation strategies, and lower levels of angry mood than adolescents in the AIQ group. No between-group differences in angry mood variability were found. Lastly, adolescents in the MID-BIF group reported to use more behavioral than cognitive regulation strategies.

Conclusions and implications
These findings provide a starting point in understanding emotion regulation and angry mood of adolescents with externalizing problems and MID-BIF and show that it is important to consider differences between cognitive and behavioral regulation processes.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2020.103833

Dobbelaar, S., van Duijvenvoorde, A.C.K., Achterberg, M., van der Meulen, M., & Crone, E.A. (2021).
A Bi-Dimensional Taxonomy of Social Responsivity in Middle Childhood: Prosociality and Reactive Aggression Predict Externalizing Behavior Over Time.
Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 586633.

Developing social skills is essential to succeed in social relations. Two important social constructs in middle childhood, prosocial behavior and reactive aggression, are often regarded as separate behaviors with opposing developmental outcomes. However, there is increasing evidence for the co-occurrence of prosociality and aggression, as both might indicate responsivity to the social environment. Here, we tested whether a bi-dimensional taxonomy of prosociality and reactive aggression could predict internalizing and externalizing problems over time. We re-analyzed data of two well-validated experimental tasks for prosociality (the Prosocial Cyberball Game) and reactive aggression (the Social Network Aggression Task) in a developmental population sample (n = 496, 7–9 years old). Results revealed no associations between prosociality and reactive aggression, confirming the independence of those constructs. Interestingly, although prosociality and reactive aggression independently did not predict problem behavior, the interaction of both was negatively predictive of changes in externalizing problems over time. Specifically, only children who scored low on both prosociality and reactive aggression showed an increase in externalizing problems 1 year later, whereas levels of externalizing problems did not change for children who scored high on both types of behavior. Thus, our results suggest that at an individual level, reactive aggression in middle childhood might not always be maladaptive when combined with prosocial behavior, thereby confirming the importance of studying social competence across multiple dimensions.

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.586633

Lo Cricchio, M. G., Garc.a-Poole, C., te Brinke, L. W., Bianchi, D., & Menesini, E. (2021).
Moral disengagement and cyberbullying involvement: A systematic review.
European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18(2), 271-311.

Moral Disengagement (MD) has been found to be related to higher levels of different aggressive and bullying behaviours. Although some studies found that it plays an important role in cyberbullying too, results in this field are still puzzling and the association between MD and cyberbullying is still unclear. Therefore, this systematic review was aimed at examining evidence of the association between MD and cyberbullying. We analysed 41 studies, seeking to clarify how cyberbullying perpetrating, and active and passive bystanding behaviours are associated with MD mechanisms, and how the association among these processes may vary depending on the methods of measurement chosen. Taken together, the results confirm that positive associations among MD and both cyberbullying perpetrating and passive bystanding behaviours are significant, even after the roles of moderating variables are accounted for. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for future research and intervention.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17405629.2020.1782186

McCormick, E. M., Peters, S., Crone, E.A. & Telzer, E.H. (2021).
Longitudinal Network Re-organization Across Learning and Development.
NeuroImage, 229, 117784.

While it is well understood that the brain experiences changes across short-term experience/learning and long-term development, it is unclear how these two mechanisms interact to produce developmental outcomes. Here we test an interactive model of learning and development where certain learning-related changes are constrained by developmental changes in the brain against an alternative development-as-practice model where outcomes are determined primarily by the accumulation of experience regardless of age. Participants (8–29 years) participated in a three-wave, accelerated longitudinal study during which they completed a feedback learning task during an fMRI scan. Adopting a novel longitudinal modeling approach, we probed the unique and moderated effects of learning, experience, and development simultaneously on behavioral performance and network modularity during the task. We found nonlinear patterns of development for both behavior and brain, and that greater experience supported increased learning and network modularity relative to naïve subjects. We also found changing brain-behavior relationships across adolescent development, where heightened network modularity predicted improved learning, but only following the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. These results present compelling support for an interactive view of experience and development, where changes in the brain impact behavior in context-specific fashion based on developmental goals.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117784

Nijhof, K., te Brinke, L. W., Njardvik, U. & Liber, J. M. (2021).
The role of perspective taking and self-control in a preventive intervention targeting childhood disruptive behavior.
Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology.

Prevention studies typically focus on outcome variables such as reductions in problem behavior, rather than targeted factors (e.g., cognitions), or the relation between change in targeted factors and outcomes. Therefore, the current study examined the effect of a targeted prevention program for childhood disruptive behavior on targeted factors (i.e., perspective taking and self-control) and associations between change in targeted factors and outcomes (i.e., aspects of disruptive behavior). The sample consisted of 173 children (Mage = 10.2 years) who were randomly assigned to an intervention condition (n = 70) or waitlist control condition (n = 103). Assessment took place at pre-, post- and follow-up measurements. For ethical considerations, follow-up data was not available for children on the waitlist. Findings revealed a direct intervention effect on self-control. From pre-test to follow-up, children who received the intervention improved in perspective taking and self-control. Moreover, improvements in self-control were associated with and predicted reductions in teacher-reported symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. No associations were found between changes in perspective taking and disruptive behavior. These findings suggest that self-control may be an important target factor in reducing childhood disruptive behavior in targeted prevention.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-020-00761-1 

Peters, S., Van der Cruijsen, R., Van der Aar, L.P.E., Spaans, J. P., Becht, A.I. & Crone, E.A. (2021).
Social media use and the not-so-imaginary audience: Behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying the influence on self-concept.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 48, 1000921.

We investigated behavioral and neural mechanisms in the relation between social media use (SMU) and self-concept, as well as longitudinal developmental outcomes. Adolescents and young adults (N = 150, 11–21 years old at T1) rated themselves on 60 traits in the academic, physical and prosocial domain, and also indicated how they thought peers would judge them (reflected-peer-judgements). Longitudinal questionnaires (1- and 2-year follow-up) were collected to assess positive (prosocial behavior, self-concept clarity) and negative (clinical symptoms) long-term outcomes.

Results indicated that heavier self-reported SMU was linked with lower difference scores between self-judgements and reflected-peer-judgements. Lower SMU was related to more positive ratings from self-judgements vs. reflected-peer-judgements. SMU was also associated with less positive self-concept, particularly in the academic domain (boys and girls) and physical domain (girls). Neurally, increased SMU was linked to heightened mPFC-activity during self-judgements compared to reflected-peer-judgements, and increased activity during physical compared to academic and prosocial self-judgements. Longitudinal analyses indicated no evidence for long-term effects of social media use, self/reflected-peer-difference scores and mPFC-activity on clinical symptoms, prosocial behavior or self-concept clarity. This study highlights the complex relationship between social media use and wellbeing and future research is needed to confirm the lack of long-term effects.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2021.100921

Schreuders, E., Braams, B.R., Crone, E.A. & Guroglu, B. (2021).
Friendship stability in adolescence is associated with ventral striatum responses to vicarious rewards.
Nature Communications, 12(1):313.

An important task for adolescents is to form and maintain friendships. In this three-wave biannual study, we used a longitudinal neuroscience perspective to examine the dynamics of friendship stability. Relative to childhood and adulthood, adolescence is marked by elevated ventral striatum activity when gaining self-serving rewards. Using a sample of participants between the ages of eight and twenty-eight, we tested age-related changes in ventral striatum response to gaining for stable (n = 48) versus unstable best friends (n = 75) (and self). In participants with stable friendships, we observed a quadratic developmental trajectory of ventral striatum responses to winning versus losing rewards for friends, whereas participants with unstable best friends showed no age-related changes. Ventral striatum activity in response to winning versus losing for friends further varied with friendship closeness for participants with unstable friendships. We suggest that these findings may reflect changing social motivations related to formation and maintenance of friendships across adolescence.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20042-1 


Achterberg, M., van Duijvenvoorde, A. C. K., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. & Crone, E. A. (2020).
Longitudinal changes in DLPFC activation during childhood are related to decreased aggression following social rejection.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Regulating aggression after social feedback is an important prerequisite for developing and maintaining social relations, especially in the current times with larger emphasis on online social evaluation. Studies in adults highlighted the role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in regulating aggression. Little is known about the development of aggression regulation following social feedback during childhood, while this is an important period for both brain maturation and social relations. The current study used a longitudinal design, with 456 twins undergoing two functional MRI sessions across the transition from middle (7 to 9 y) to late (9 to 11 y) childhood. Aggression regulation was studied using the Social Network Aggression Task. Behavioral aggression after social evaluation decreased over time, whereas activation in the insula, dorsomedial PFC and DLPFC increased over time. Brain–behavior analyses showed that increased DLPFC activation after negative feedback was associated with decreased aggression. Change analyses further revealed that children with larger increases in DLPFC activity from middle to late childhood showed stronger decreases in aggression over time. These findings provide insights into the development of social evaluation sensitivity and aggression control in childhood.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1915124117

Aghajani, M., Klapwijk, E. T., Andershed, H., Fanti, K. A., van der Wee, N. J., Vermeiren, R. R., Colins, O. F. (2020).
Neural processing of socioemotional content in conduct-disordered juvenile offenders with limited prosocial emotions.
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 105, 110045.

Background: Reflecting evidence on Callous-Unemotional (CU) traits (e.g., lack of empathy and guilt, shallow affect), the DSM-5 added a categorical CU-based specifier for Conduct Disorder (CD), labeled ‘with Limited Prosocial Emotions’ (LPE). Theory and prior work suggest that CD youths with and without LPE will likely differ in neural processing of negative socioemotional content. This proposition, however, is mainly derived from studies employing related, yet distinct, operationalizations of CU traits (e.g., dimensional measure/median split/top quartile), thus precluding direct examination of LPE-specific neurocognitive deficits.

Methods: Employing a DSM-5 informed LPE proxy, neural processing of recognizing and resonating negative socioemotional content (angry and fearful faces) was therefore examined here among CD offenders with LPE (CD/LPE+; N = 19), relative to CD offenders without LPE (CD/LPE-; N = 31) and healthy controls (HC; N = 31).

Results: Relative to HC and CD/LPE- youths and according to a linearly increasing trend (CD/LPE- < HC < CD/LPE+), CD/LPE+ youths exhibited hyperactivity within dorsolateral, dorsomedial, and ventromedial prefrontal regions during both emotion recognition and resonance. During emotion resonance, CD/LPE+ youths additionally showed increased activity within the posterior cingulate and precuneal cortices in comparison to HC and CD/LPE- youths, which again followed a linearly increasing trend (CD/LPE- < HC < CD/LPE+). These effects moreover seemed specific to the LPE specifier, when compared to a commonly employed method for CU-based grouping in CD (i.e., median split on CU scores).

Conclusions: These data cautiously suggest that CD/LPE+ youths may exhibit an over-reliance on cortical neurocognitive systems when explicitly processing negative socioemotional information, which could have adverse downstream effects on relevant socioemotional functions. The findings thus seem to provide novel, yet preliminary, clues on the neurocognitive profile of CD/LPE+, and additionally highlight the potential scientific utility of the LPE specifier.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.110045

Becht, A.I.,Klapwijk, E.T., Wierenga, L.M., van der Cruijsen, R., Spaans, J., van der Aar, L., Peters, S., Branje, S., Meeus, W. & Crone, E.A. (2020).
Longitudinal associations between structural prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens development and daily identity formation processes across adolescence.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 46, 100880.

We tested whether adolescents with daily high identity uncertainty showed differential structural brain development across adolescence and young adulthood. Participants (N = 150, MageT1 15.92 years) were followed across three waves, covering 4 years. Self-reported daily educational identity and structural brain data of lateral prefrontal cortex (lPFC)/anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), medial PFC, and nucleus accumbens (NAcc) was collected across three waves. All hypotheses were pre-registered. Latent class growth analyses confirmed 2 identity subgroups: an identity synthesis class (characterized by strong commitments, and low uncertainty), and an identity moratorium class (high daily identity uncertainty). Latent growth curve models revealed, on average, delayed maturation of the lateral PFC/ACC and medial PFC and stable NAcc. Yet, adolescents in identity moratorium showed lower levels and less decline in NAcc gray matter volume. Lateral PFC/ACC and medial PFC trajectories did not differ between identity subgroups. Exploratory analyses revealed that adolescents with higher baseline levels and delayed maturation of lateral PFC/ACC and medial PFC gray matter volume, surface area, and cortical thickness reported higher baseline levels and stronger increases of in-depth exploration. These results provide insight into how individual differences in brain development relate to fluctuations in educational identity development across adolescence and young adulthood.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100880

Becht, A.I. & Mills, K. (2020).
Modeling Individual Differences in Brain Development.
Biological Psychiatry.

Within the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience, there is an increasing interest in studying individual differences in human brain development in order to predict mental health outcomes. So far, however, most longitudinal neuroimaging studies focus on group-level estimates. In this review, we highlight longitudinal neuroimaging studies that have moved beyond group-level estimates to illustrate the heterogeneity in patterns of brain development. We provide practical methodological recommendations on how longitudinal neuroimaging datasets can be used to understand heterogeneity in human brain development. Finally, we address how taking an individual-differences approach in developmental neuroimaging studies could advance our understanding of why some individuals develop mental health disorders.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.01.027

Becht, A.I., Wierenga, L.M., Mills, K., Meuwese, R., van Duijvenvoorde, A., Blakemore, S-J., Güroğlu, B., & Crone, E. A (2020).
Beyond the Average Brain: Individual Differences in Social Brain Development are associated with Friendship Quality.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

We tested whether adolescents differ from each other in the structural development of the social brain and whether individual differences in social brain development predicted variability in friendship quality development. Adolescents (N = 299, Mage T1=13.98 years) were followed across three biannual waves. We analysed self-reported friendship quality with the best friend at T1 and T3, and bilateral measures of surface area and cortical thickness of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and precuneus across all waves. At the group level, growth curve models confirmed non-linear decreases of surface area and cortical thickness in social brain regions. We identified substantial individual differences in levels and change rates of social brain regions, especially for surface area of the mPFC, pSTS and TPJ. Change rates of cortical thickness varied less between persons. Higher levels of mPFC surface area and cortical thickness predicted stronger increases in friendship quality over time. Moreover, faster cortical thinning of mPFC surface area predicted a stronger increase in friendship quality. Higher levels of TPJ cortical thickness predicted lower friendship quality. Together, our results indicate heterogeneity in social brain development and how this variability uniquely predicts friendship quality development.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa166

Brandner, P., Guroglu, B., & Crone, E.A. (2020).
I am happy for us: Neural processing of vicarious joy when winning for parents versus strangers.
Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 20, 1309-1322.

This study investigated the neural processes underlying vicarious joy and their dependence on emotional closeness. Prior studies revealed that the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) is a target brain region for processing rewards for self, but the neural mechanisms of processing rewards for others are not yet well understood. A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm was employed in young adults (N = 30), in combination with a self-report questionnaire on the perceived emotional closeness to the target. We examined the neural correlates of vicarious rewards when winning money for oneself or one of three other targets. To examine family relationships, two of the targets were the mother and father of the participants, and the third target was an unknown stranger. We found an increase in activation in the NAcc when playing for family members compared with a stranger. We further observed a difference in neural activation when winning for the father compared with the mother in an extended network involving the medial prefrontal cortex and precuneus, brain regions involved in mentalizing. These findings were not related to reports of emotional closeness. This new paradigm has considerable value for future research into the fundamental neural processes underlying empathy and vicarious joy.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-020-00839-9.

te Brinke, L. W., Menting, A. T. A., Schuiringa, H.D., Zeman, J., & Deković, M. (2020).
The structure of emotion regulation strategies in adolescence: Differential links to internalizing and externalizing problems.
Social Development.

Emotion regulation is a multi‐modal construct, that includes both adaptive and maladaptive cognitive‐behavioral processes. However, many classifications of regulation strategies do not take this multi‐modality into account. In this study, two classification systems were integrated. Participants were 336 adolescents (56% boys, Mage = 15.41, SD = 1.45). Anger regulation strategies were measured with a questionnaire that assessed general strategies, and a vignette measure that assessed contextual strategies. Confirmatory factor analyses supported a 4‐factor classification that consisted of cognitive maladaptive, behavioral maladaptive, cognitive adaptive, and behavioral adaptive strategies. The four categories of regulation strategies were differentially associated with age, and gender and psychological problem differences were found. Adolescents with internalizing problems reported using a cognitive regulation style, adolescents with externalizing problems a behavioral regulation style, and adolescents with comorbid internalizing and externalizing problems a maladaptive regulation style. These findings highlight the multi‐modal nature of emotion regulation and may provide opportunities for treatment modifications.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12496

Burke, S.M., van de Groep, S., Brandner, P., & Crone, E.A. (2020).
Social relationships in adolescence: Trust and reciprocity.
The Oxford Handbook of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

One of the most prominent changes in adolescence concerns the way adolescents experience and develop social relationships. Two processes that are highly important for developing secure and intimate social relationships are trust and reciprocity. Trust helps individuals to develop social relationships, whereas reciprocity is crucial for maintaining social relationships. This chapter investigates the development of trust and reciprocity from a behavioral and neuroscience perspective. In the first section, the authors show that economic games that manipulate trust and reciprocity conditions can be informative for understanding motivations for trusting others, including the developmental changes in these processes. Next, the authors describe neuroimaging studies that examined trust and reciprocity in adults and adolescents. Special emphasis is given to possible individual differences relating to gender, perspective taking skills, and social context, factors that all may influence trust and reciprocity behavior. Finally, the chapter will end with several compelling questions that are important for relating lab-based experimental designs and neuroscientific studies to understanding trust and reciprocity in the complexity of adolescents’ daily lives.

DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198827474.013.26

Chen D, Strang JF, Kolbuck VD, Rosenthal SM, Wallen K, Waber DP, Steinberg L, Sisk CL, Ross J, Paus T, Mueller SC, McCarthy MM, Micevych PE, Martin CL, Kreukels BPC, Kenworthy L, Herting MM, Herlitz A, Haraldsen IRJH, Dahl R, Crone EA, Chelune GJ, Burke SM, Berenbaum SA, Beltz AM, Bakker J, Eliot L, Vilain E, Wallace GL, Nelson EE, Garofalo R. (2020).
Consensus parameter: Research methodologies to evaluate neurodevelopmental effects on pubertal suppression in transgender youth.
Transgender Health, 5(4): 246-257.

Purpose: Pubertal suppression is standard of care for early pubertal transgender youth to prevent the development of undesired and distressing secondary sex characteristics incongruent with gender identity. Preliminary evidence suggests pubertal suppression improves mental health functioning. Given the widespread changes in brain and cognition that occur during puberty, a critical question is whether this treatment impacts neurodevelopment.

Methods: A Delphi consensus procedure engaged 24 international experts in neurodevelopment, gender development, puberty/adolescence, neuroendocrinology, and statistics/psychometrics to identify priority research methodologies to address the empirical question: is pubertal suppression treatment associated with real-world neurocognitive sequelae? Recommended study approaches reaching 80% consensus were included in the consensus parameter.

Results: A Delphi consensus procedure engaged 24 international experts in neurodevelopment, gender development, puberty/adolescence, neuroendocrinology, and statistics/psychometrics to identify priority research methodologies to address the empirical question: is pubertal suppression treatment associated with real-world neurocognitive sequelae? Recommended study approaches reaching 80% consensus were included in the consensus parameter.

Conclusion: An international interdisciplinary team of experts achieved consensus around primary methods and domains for assessing neurodevelopmental effects (i.e., benefits and/or difficulties) of pubertal suppression treatment in transgender youth.

DOI: 10.1089/trgh.2020.0006 

Cousijn, J., Green, K. H., Labots, M., Vanderschuren, L. J., Kenemans, J. L., & Lesscher, H. (2020).
Motivational and Control Mechanisms Underlying Adolescent versus Adult Alcohol Use.
NeuroSci, 1(1), 44-58.

Increased motivation towards alcohol use and suboptimal behavioral control are suggested to predispose adolescents to alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Paradoxically however, most adolescent AUDs resolve over time without any formal intervention, suggesting adolescent resilience to AUDs. Importantly, studies directly comparing adolescent and adult alcohol use are largely missing. We therefore aimed to unravel the moderating role of age in the relation between alcohol use and motivational and control-related cognitive processes in 45 adolescent drinkers compared to 45 adults. We found that enhancement drinking motives and impulsivity related positively to alcohol use. Although enhancement drinking motives and impulsivity were higher in adolescents, the strength of the relation between these measures and alcohol use did not differ between age groups. None of the alcohol use-related motivational measures (i.e., craving, attentional bias, and approach bias) and behavioral control measures (i.e., interference control, risky decision making, and working-memory) were associated with alcohol use or differed between age groups. These findings support the role of impulsivity and affective sensitivity in adolescent drinking but question the moderating role of age therein. The current study contributes towards understanding the role of age in the relation between alcohol use and cognition.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci1010005

Crone, E. A., Achterberg, M., Dobbelaar, S., Euser, S., van den Bulk, B., van der Meulen, M., … & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2020).
Neural and behavioral signatures of social evaluation and adaptation in childhood and adolescence: The Leiden Consortium on Individual Development (L-CID).
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 100805.

The transition period between early childhood and late adolescence is characterized by pronounced changes in social competence, or the capacity for flexible social adaptation. Here, we propose that two processes, self-control and prosociality, are crucial for social adaptation following social evaluation. We present a neurobehavioral model showing commonalities in neural responses to experiences of social acceptance and rejection, and multiple pathways for responding to social context. The Leiden Consortium on Individual Development (L-CID) provides a comprehensive approach towards understanding the longitudinal developmental pathways of, and social enrichment effects on, social competence, taking into account potential differential effects of such enrichment. Using Neurosynth based brain maps we point towards the medial prefrontal cortex as an important region integrating social cognition, self-referential processing and self-control for learning to respond flexibly to changing social contexts. Based on their role in social evaluation processing, we suggest to examine medial prefrontal cortex connections with lateral prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum as potential neural differential susceptibility markers, in addition to previously established markers of differential susceptibility.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100805

Crone, E.A., & Fuligni, A.J. (2020).
Self and Others in Adolescence.
Annual Review in Psychology, 71, 447-469. 

Research has demonstrated that adolescence is an important time for self- and other-oriented development that underlies many skills vital for becoming a contributing member of society with healthy intergroup relations. It is often assumed that these two processes, thinking about self and thinking about others, are pitted against each other when adolescents engage in social decision making such as giving or sharing. Recent evidence from social neuroscience, however, does not support this notion of conflicting motives, suggesting instead that thinking about self and others relies on a common network of social-affective brain regions, with the medial prefrontal cortex playing a central role in the integration of perspectives related to self and others. Here, we argue that self- and other-oriented thinking are intertwined processes that rely on an overlapping neural network. Adolescents’ motivation to contribute to society can be fostered most when self- and other-oriented motives align.

DOI: 10.1146/annurev-psych-010419-050937

van der Cruijsen, R., & Boyer, B. E. (2020).
Explicit and implicit self-esteem in youth with autism spectrum disorders.
Autism, 1-12.

Although the link between self-esteem and psychopathology has been well established, studies on self-esteem in individuals with autism spectrum disorder are lacking. In this study, we aimed to (1) compare explicit and implicit self-esteem of youth with autism spectrum disorder to typically developing peers and to (2) explore relationships of implicit-, explicit-, and discrepant self-esteem measures with co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems in youth with autism spectrum disorder. For this purpose, 25 individuals with autism spectrum disorder and 24 individuals as age- and intelligence quotient–matched controls aged 8–16 years participated in this study. Results showed lower explicit self-esteem in autism spectrum disorder compared to typically developing youth and no differences in implicit self-esteem between groups. In youth with autism spectrum disorder, low explicit self-esteem was related to co-occurring depression symptoms, whereas lower implicit self-esteem was related to externalizing symptoms. These results show that youth with autism spectrum disorder are at risk for developing low explicit self-esteem, which appears to be related to often co-occurring internalizing symptoms. This emphasizes the need to focus more on self-esteem in assessment and treatment of youth with autism spectrum disorder.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361320961006

Aczel, B., Szaszi, B., Sarafoglou, A., …, Crone, E.A., …, Wagenmakers, E.J. (2020).
A consensus-based transparency checklist.
Nature Human Behavior, 4(1), 4-6.

We present a consensus-based checklist to improve and document the transparency of research reports in social and behavioural research. An accompanying online application allows users to complete the form and generate a report that they can submit with their manuscript or post to a public repository.

DOI: 10.1038/s41562-019-0772-6

van de Groep, S., Meuwese, R., Zanolie, K., Güroğlu, B., & Crone, E. A. (2020).
Developmental changes and individual differences in trust and reciprocity in adolescence.
Journal of Research on Adolescence30, 192-208.

The aim of the current study was to examine neural signatures of gaining money for self and charity in adolescence. Participants (N = 160, aged 11–21) underwent fMRI-scanning while performing a zero-sum vicarious reward task in which they could either earn money for themselves at the expense of charity, for a self-chosen charity at the expense of themselves, or for both parties. Afterwards, they could donate money to charity, which we used as a behavioral index of giving. Gaining for self and for both parties resulted in activity in the ventral striatum (specifically in the NAcc), but not gaining for charity. Interestingly, striatal activity when gaining for charity was positively related to individual differences in donation behavior and perspective taking. Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula and precentral gyrus were active when gaining only for self, and temporal-parietal junction when gaining only for charity, relative to gaining for both parties (i.e. under equity deviation). Taken together, these findings show that striatal activity during vicarious gaining for charity depends on levels of perspective taking and predicts future acts of giving to charity. These findings provide insight in the individual differences in the subjective value of prosocial outcomes.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12459

van de Groep, S., Zanolie, K., & Crone, E. A. (2020).
Familiarity and audience effects on giving: An fMRI study.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Giving is often characterized by the conflicting decision to give up something of value to benefit others. Recent evidence indicated that giving is highly context dependent. To unravel the neural correlates of social context, in this study young adults (N = 32) performed a novel giving fMRI paradigm, in which they divided coins between self and known others (friends) or unknown (unfamiliar) others. A second manipulation included presence of others; giving decisions were made with an audience or anonymously. Results showed that participants gave more coins to a friend than to an unfamiliar other, and generally gave more in the presence of an audience. On a neural level, medial prefrontal cortex and the right insula were most active for relatively generous decisions. These findings possibly reflect that aversion of norm deviation or fairness concerns drive differences in the frequency of giving. Next, activation in separate sub regions of the TPJIPL (i.e., a region that comprises the temporo-parietal junction and inferior parietal lobule) was found for target and audience contexts. Overall, our findings suggest that donation size and social contextual information are processed in separable brain regions and that TPJ-IPL plays an important role in balancing self- and other-oriented motives related to the social context.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01568

van de Groep, S., Zanolie, K., Green, K. H., Sweijen, S. W., & Crone, E. A. (2020).
A daily diary study on adolescents’ mood, empathy, and prosocial behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic.
PloS one, 15(10), e0240349.

Adolescence is a formative phase for social development. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated regulations have led to many changes in adolescents’ lives, including limited opportunities for social interactions. The current exploratory study investigated the effect of the first weeks of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on Dutch adolescents’ (N = 53 with attrition, N = 36 without attrition) mood, empathy, and prosocial behavior. Longitudinal analyses comparing pre-pandemic measures to a three-week peri-pandemic daily diary study showed (i) decreases in empathic concern, opportunities for prosocial actions, and tension, (ii) stable levels of social value orientation, altruism, and dire prosociality, and (iii) increased levels of perspective-taking and vigor during the first weeks of lockdown. Second, this study investigated peri-pandemic effects of familiarity, need, and deservedness on giving behavior. To this end, we utilized novel hypothetical Dictator Games with ecologically valid targets associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Adolescents showed higher levels of giving to a friend (a familiar other, about 51% of the total share), a doctor in a hospital (deserving target, 78%), and individuals with COVID-19 or a poor immune system (targets in need, 69 and 63%, respectively) compared to an unfamiliar peer (39%) This suggests that during the pandemic need and deservedness had a greater influence on adolescent giving than familiarity. Overall, this study demonstrates detrimental effects of the first weeks of lockdown on adolescents’ empathic concern and opportunities for prosocial actions, which are important predictors of healthy socio-emotional development. However, adolescents also showed marked resilience and a willingness to benefit others as a result of the lockdown, as evidenced by improved perspective-taking and mood, and high sensitivity to need and deservedness in giving to others.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240349

Hoekzema, E., Tamnes, C.K., Berns, P., Barba-Müller, E., Pozzobon, C., Picado, M., Lucco, F., Martinez-Gacia, M., Desco, M., Ballesteros, A., Crone, E.A., Villariya, O., Carmona, S. (2020).
Becoming a mother entails anatomical changes in the ventral striatum of the human brain that facilitate its responsiveness to offspring cues.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, 112, 104507.

In mothers, offspring cues are associated with a powerful reinforcing value that motivates maternal care. Animal studies show that this is mediated by dopamine release into the nucleus accumbens, a core component of the brain’s reward system located in the ventral striatum (VStr). The VStr is also known to respond to infant signals in human mothers. However, it is unknown whether pregnancy modifies the anatomy or functionality of this structure, and whether such modifications underlie its strong reactivity to offspring cues. Therefore, we analyzed structural and functional neuroimaging data from a unique pre-conception prospective cohort study involving first-time mothers investigated before and after their pregnancy as well as nulliparous control women scanned at similar time intervals. First, we delineated the anatomy of the VStr in each subject’s neuroanatomical space and examined whether there are volumetric changes in this structure across sessions. Then, we tested if these changes could predict the mothers’ brain responses to visual stimuli of their infants. We found decreases in the right VStr and a trend for left VStr reductions in the women who were pregnant between sessions compared to the women who were not. Furthermore, VStr volume reductions across pregnancy were associated with infant-related VStr responses in the postpartum period, with stronger volume decreases predicting stronger functional activation to offspring cues. These findings provide the first indications that the transition to motherhood renders anatomical adaptations in the VStr that promote the strong responsiveness of a mother’s reward circuit to cues of her infant.

DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.104507

Huijser, D.C., Achterberg, M., Wierenga, L.M., Van 't Veer, A.E., Klapwijk, E., Van Erkel, R., & Hettne, K.M. (2020).
MRI data sharing guide.

We present a guide on sharing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data, with a focus on The Netherlands. The guide is meant as a help for researchers to know what they can share and where, and where they can find information or support. This is the persistent record of the flowchart. More information about the project can be found here: Github repository

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3822290

Konijn, E.A., & Achterberg, M. (2020).
Neuropsychology of Emotional Responsiveness to Media.
In J. van den Bulck (Ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Media Psychology. John Wiley & Sons.

Responding emotionally to a movie, video game, Instagram post, or a social robot is quite a common experience. Whereas the experience felt is real, the mediated encounter or message often is fabricated, just fiction, and involves artificial nonexistent characters. An intriguing question is thus “why does media use feel so real and how are emotions induced by processing media?” This entry aims to answer that question by outlining the neuropsychological underpinnings of emotional responsiveness to media. It discusses how emotions and emotion regulation are processed in the brain and exemplifies neuropsychological models. Key is the fast processing of feelings and emotions, mostly operated in subcortical‐limbic brain regions, relative to slower and more reflective processing through the prefrontal cortex, which dynamically interact as one system. Then, this entry outlines the neural underpinnings of the rewarding and disturbing effects of (social) media use. Finally, it shows how the parallel processing of emotions in neuropsychological models may explain the often‐found emotional bias in media use. In all, this entry aims to provide insights into the psychology behind media use and open new perspectives for relevant media psychological research.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119011071.iemp0319

van der Meulen, M., Wierenga, L. M., Achterberg, M., Drenth, N., van IJzendoorn, M.H. & Crone, E. A. (2020).
Shared genetic and environmental influences on structure of the social brain in children.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 44.

Prosocial behavior and empathy are important aspects of developing social relations in childhood. Prior studies showed protracted structural development of social brain regions associated with prosocial behavior. However, it remains unknown how structure of the social brain is influenced by genetic or environmental factors, and whether overlapping heritability factors explain covariance in structure of the social brain and behavior. The current study examined this hypothesis in a twin sample (aged 7–9-year; N = 512). Bilateral measures of surface area and cortical thickness of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), and precuneus were analyzed. Results showed genetic contributions to surface area and cortical thickness for all brain regions. We found additional shared environmental influences for TPJ, suggesting that this region might be relatively more sensitive to social experiences. Genetic factors also influenced parent-reported prosocial behavior (A = 45%) and empathy (A = 59%). We provided initial evidence that the precuneus shares genetically determined variance with empathy, suggesting a possible small genetic overlap (9%) in brain structure and empathy. These findings show that structure of the social brain and empathy are driven by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, with some factors overlapping for brain structure and behavior.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100782

Scotti, P., Kulkarni, A., Mazor, M., Klapwijk, E.T., Yarkoni, T., & Huth, A. (2020).
EduCortex: browser- based 3D brain visualization of fMRI meta-analysis maps.
Journal of Open Source Education, 3(26), 75.

EduCortex is an educational browser-based visualization tool that allows the user to enter any functional or anatomical term (e.g., “visual”, “face”, “motion”, “precuneus”) and visualize the parts of the brain that are most associated with that term. The process can also be reversed, where the user can click anywhere on the brain to see what terms are most associated with the selected brain region. Using principal component analysis, we also display the functional terms that explained the most variance across all activation maps. This tool works through the combination of Neurosynth (Yarkono, Poldrack, Nichols, Van Essen, & Wager, 2011), a large-scale, automated database of fMRI papers, and PyCortix (Gao, Huth, Lescroart, & Gallant, 2015), and interactive 3D brain visualizer.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21105/jose.00075

Spaans, J. P., Peters, S., & Crone, E. A. (2020).
Neural reward related-reactions to monetary gains for self and charity are associated with donating behavior in adolescence. 
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

The aim of the current study was to examine neural signatures of gaining money for self and charity in adolescence. Participants (N = 160, aged 11–21) underwent fMRI-scanning while performing a zero-sum vicarious reward task in which they could either earn money for themselves at the expense of charity, for a self-chosen charity at the expense of themselves, or for both parties. Afterwards, they could donate money to charity, which we used as a behavioral index of giving. Gaining for self and for both parties resulted in activity in the ventral striatum (specifically in the NAcc), but not gaining for charity. Interestingly, striatal activity when gaining for charity was positively related to individual differences in donation behavior and perspective taking. Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula and precentral gyrus were active when gaining only for self, and temporal-parietal junction when gaining only for charity, relative to gaining for both parties (i.e. under equity deviation). Taken together, these findings show that striatal activity during vicarious gaining for charity depends on levels of perspective taking and predicts future acts of giving to charity. These findings provide insight in the individual differences in the subjective value of prosocial outcomes.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa027

Thompson, P.M., Jahanshad, N., Ching, C. R., Salminen, L.E., Thomopoulos, S.I., Bright, J., ... Klapwijk, E.T., ... for the ENIGMA Consortium (2020).
ENIGMA and global neuroscience: A decade of large- scale studies of the brain in health and disease across more than 40 countries.
Translational psychiatry, 10(1), 1-28.

This review summarizes the last decade of work by the ENIGMA (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta Analysis) Consortium, a global alliance of over 1400 scientists across 43 countries, studying the human brain in health and disease. Building on large-scale genetic studies that discovered the first robustly replicated genetic loci associated with brain metrics, ENIGMA has diversified into over 50 working groups (WGs), pooling worldwide data and expertise to answer fundamental questions in neuroscience, psychiatry, neurology, and genetics. Most ENIGMA WGs focus on specific psychiatric and neurological conditions, other WGs study normal variation due to sex and gender differences, or development and aging; still other WGs develop methodological pipelines and tools to facilitate harmonized analyses of “big data” (i.e., genetic and epigenetic data, multimodal MRI, and electroencephalography data). These international efforts have yielded the largest neuroimaging studies to date in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. More recent ENIGMA WGs have formed to study anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts and behavior, sleep and insomnia, eating disorders, irritability, brain injury, antisocial personality and conduct disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. Here, we summarize the first decade of ENIGMA’s activities and ongoing projects, and describe the successes and challenges encountered along the way. We highlight the advantages of collaborative large-scale coordinated data analyses for testing reproducibility and robustness of findings, offering the opportunity to identify brain systems involved in clinical syndromes across diverse samples and associated genetic, environmental, demographic, cognitive, and psychosocial factors.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-0705-1

Veldkamp, Sabine A M, Zondervan - Zwijnenburg, M.A.J., van Bergen, Elsje, Barzeva, S. A., Tamayo-Martinez, N, Becht, A.I., van Beijsterveld, C.E.M., Meeus, W.H.J., Branje, S.J.T., Hillegers, Manon Hj, Oldehinkel, AJ., Hoijtink, H.J.A., Boomsma, Dorret & Hartman, C. (2020).
Parental Age in Relation to Offspring’s Neurodevelopment.
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology

Advanced parenthood increases the risk of severe neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, Down syndrome and schizophrenia. Does advanced parenthood also negatively impact offspring’s general neurodevelopment?

We analyzed child-, father-, mother- and teacher-rated attention-problems (N = 38,024), and standardized measures of intelligence (N = 10,273) and educational achievement (N = 17,522) of children from four Dutch population-based cohorts. The mean age over cohorts varied from 9.73–13.03. Most participants were of Dutch origin, ranging from 58.7%-96.7% over cohorts. We analyzed 50% of the data to generate hypotheses and the other 50% to evaluate support for these hypotheses. We aggregated the results over cohorts with Bayesian research synthesis.

We mostly found negative linear relations between parental age and attention-problems, meaning that offspring of younger parents tended to have more attention problems. Maternal age was positively and linearly related to offspring’s IQ and educational achievement. Paternal age showed an attenuating positive relation with educational achievement and an inverted U-shape relation with IQ, with offspring of younger and older fathers at a disadvantage. Only the associations with maternal age remained after including SES. The inclusion of child gender in the model did not affect the relation between parental age and the study outcomes.

Effects were small but significant, with better outcomes for children born to older parents. Older parents tended to be of higher SES. Indeed, the positive relation between parental age and offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes was partly confounded by SES.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2020.1756298

Westhoff, B., Koele, I.J., & van de Groep, I.H. (2020).
Social Learning and the Brain: How Do We Learn From and About Other People?
Frontiers for Young Minds, 8:95.

When you think about learning, you probably think about things you are taught at school. But have you ever realized you use a different type of learning as well, on a daily basis? This type of learning is called social learning, and it has to do with the people around you. That is, you learn from and about others by watching and interacting with them. For example, seeing someone else’s mistakes may teach you to avoid falling into the same trap. Although social learning happens very often, you may not yet know much about it. However, social learning is very important because it helps us to learn more efficiently and to determine how best to behave around others. In this article, we introduce two different types of social learning, and explain how your brain plays an important role.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/frym.2020.00095

Wierenga LM, Doucet GE, Dima D, Agartz I,..., Crone EA, ..., & Tamnes CK (2020).
Greater male than female variability in regional brain structures across the life span.
Human Brain Mapping.

For many traits, males show greater variability than females, with possible implications for understanding sex differences in health and disease. Here, the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) Consortium presents the largest-ever mega-analysis of sex differences in variability of brain structure, based on international data spanning nine decades of life. Subcortical volumes, cortical surface area and cortical thickness were assessed in MRI data of 16,683 healthy individuals 1-90 years old (47% females). We observed significant patterns of greater male than female between-subject variance for all subcortical volumetric measures, all cortical surface area measures, and 60% of cortical thickness measures. This pattern was stable across the lifespan for 50% of the subcortical structures, 70% of the regional area measures, and nearly all regions for thickness. Our findings that these sex differences are present in childhood implicate early life genetic or gene-environment interaction mechanisms. The findings highlight the importance of individual differences within the sexes, that may underpin sex-specific vulnerability to disorders.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25204

Zondervan - Zwijnenburg, M.A.J., Richards, J. S., Kevenaar, S.T., Becht, A.I., Hoijtink, H.J.A., Oldehinkel, T., Branje, S.J.T., Meeus, W.H.J. & Boomsma, D. (2020).
Robust longitudinal multi-cohort results: The development of self-control during adolescence.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 45, 1-9.

To examine the contributions of maternal and paternal age on offspring externalizing and internalizing problems, this study analyzed problem behaviors at age 10-12 years from four Dutch population-based cohorts (N = 32,892) by a multiple informant design. Bayesian evidence synthesis was used to combine results across cohorts with 50% of the data analyzed for discovery and 50% for confirmation. There was evidence of a robust negative linear relation between parental age and externalizing problems as reported by parents. In teacher-reports, this relation was largely explained by parental socio-economic status. Parental age had limited to no association with internalizing problems. Thus, in this large population-based study, either a beneficial or no effect of advanced parenthood on child problem behavior was observed.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13267 


Achterberg, M. & van der Meulen, M. (2019).
Genetic and environmental influences on MRI scan quantity and quality.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 38.

The current study provides an overview of quantity and quality of MRI data in a large developmental twin sample (N = 512, aged 7–9), and investigated to what extent scan quantity and quality were influenced by genetic and environmental factors. This was examined in a fixed scan protocol consisting of two functional MRI tasks, high resolution structural anatomy (3DT1) and connectivity (DTI) scans, and a resting state scan. Overall, scan quantity was high (88% of participants completed all runs), while scan quality decreased with increasing session length. Scanner related distress was negatively associated with scan quantity (i.e., completed runs), but not with scan quality (i.e., included runs). In line with previous studies, behavioral genetic analyses showed that genetics explained part of the variation in head motion, with heritability estimates of 29% for framewise displacement and 65% for absolute displacement. Additionally, our results revealed that subtle head motion (after exclusion of excessive head motion) showed lower heritability estimates (0–14%), indicating that findings of motion-corrected and quality-controlled MRI data may be less confounded by genetic factors. These findings provide insights in factors contributing to scan quality in children, an issue that is highly relevant for the field of developmental neuroscience.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100667

Altikulac, S. Bos, M.G.N., Foulkes, L., Crone, E.A., & Van Hoorn, J. (2019).
Age and gender effects in sensitivity to social rewards in adolescents and young adults.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 171.

Adolescence is a sensitive period for socio-cultural processing and a vast literature has established that adolescents are exceptionally attuned to the social context. Theoretical accounts posit that the social reward of social interactions plays a large role in adolescent sensitivity to the social context. Yet, to date it is unclear how sensitivity to social reward develops across adolescence and young adulthood and whether there are gender differences. The present cross-sectional study (N = 271 participants, age 11-28 years) examined age and gender effects in self-reported sensitivity to different types of social rewards. In order to achieve this aim, the Dutch Social Reward Questionnaire for Adolescents was validated. Findings revealed that each type of social reward was characterized by distinct age and gender effects. Feeling rewarded by gaining positive attention from others showed a peak in late adolescence, while enjoying positive reciprocal relationships with others showed a linear increase with age. Enjoying cruel behavior toward others decreased with age for girls, while boys showed no changes with age and reported higher levels across ages. Reward from giving others control showed a mid-adolescent dip, while enjoying group interactions did not show any changes with age. Taken together, the results imply that the social reward of social interactions is a nuanced and complex construct, which encompasses multiple components that show unique effects with age and gender. These findings enable us to gain further traction on the ubiquitous effects of the social context on decision-making in adolescent’s lives.

DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00171

Becht, A.I., Luyckx, Koen, Nelemans, S.A., Goossens, Luc, Branje, S.J.T., Vollebergh, W.A.M. & Meeus, W.H.J. (2019).
Linking Identity and Depressive Symptoms Across Adolescence - A Multisample Longitudinal Study Testing Within-Person Effects.
Developmental Psychology, 55, 1733-1742.

This multisample longitudinal study examined the directionality of effects between identity exploration and commitment processes and depressive symptoms across adolescence. We compared two theoretical perspectives. According to the vulnerability model, identity uncertainty predicts depressive symptoms, whereas the scar model holds that depressive symptoms play into identity uncertainty. In investigating both models, we examined reciprocal within-person associations in Study 1 (N = 497, Mage Time 1 [T1] = 14.03 years, comprising five annual waves) and Study 2 (N = 1,022, Mage T1 = 15.80 years, comprising four annual waves). To this end, we applied the random-intercept cross-lagged panel model (RI-CLPM) in both studies. Results supported the vulnerability model across Studies 1 and 2. Specifically, within-person increasing reconsideration of commitment (Study 1) and ruminative exploration (Study 2) predicted a within-person increase in depressive symptoms 1 year later, but not vice versa. Commitment processes did not predict depressive symptoms at the within-person level. Our findings indicate that maladaptive exploration processes of identity formation play a particularly important role in the development of depressive symptoms at the within-person level.

DOI: 10.1037/dev0000742

Blankenstein, N.E., Telzer, E.H., Do, K.T. Van Duijvenvoorde, A.C.K. & Crone, E.A. (2019).
Behavioral and neural pathways supporting the development of prosocial and risk-taking behaviour across adolescence.
Child Development.

This study tested the pathways supporting adolescent development of prosocial and rebellious behavior. Self-report and structural brain development data were obtained in a three-wave, longitudinal neuroimaging study (8-29 years, N = 210 at Wave 3). First, prosocial and rebellious behavior assessed at Wave 3 were positively correlated. Perspective taking and intention to comfort uniquely predicted prosocial behavior, whereas fun seeking (current levels and longitudinal changes) predicted both prosocial and rebellious behaviors. These changes were accompanied by developmental declines in nucleus accumbens and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) volumes, but only faster decline of MPFC (faster maturity) related to less rebellious behavior. These findings point toward a possible differential susceptibility marker, fun seeking, as a predictor of both prosocial and rebellious developmental outcomes.

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13292

Carmona, S., Martinez-Garcia, M., Paternina-Doe, M., Barba-Muller, E., Wierenga, L.M., Aleman-Gomez, Y., Pretus, C., Marcos-Vidal, L., Beumala, L., Cortizo, E., Pozzobon, C., Picado, M., Lucco, F., Garcia-Garcia, D., Solvia, J.C., Tobena, A., Peper, J.S., Crone, E.A., Ballesteros, A., Vilarroya, O., Desco, M., Hoekzema, E. (2019).
Pregnancy and adolescence entail similar neuroanatomical adaptations: A comparative analysis of cerebral morphometric changes.
Human brain Mapping, 40(7), 2144-2152.

This study tested the pathways supporting adolescent development of prosocial and rebellious behavior. Self-report and structural brain development data were obtained in a three-wave, longitudinal neuroimaging study (8-29 years, N = 210 at Wave 3). First, prosocial and rebellious behavior assessed at Wave 3 were positively correlated. Perspective taking and intention to comfort uniquely predicted prosocial behavior, whereas fun seeking (current levels and longitudinal changes) predicted both prosocial and rebellious behaviors. These changes were accompanied by developmental declines in nucleus accumbens and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) volumes, but only faster decline of MPFC (faster maturity) related to less rebellious behavior. These findings point toward a possible differential susceptibility marker, fun seeking, as a predictor of both prosocial and rebellious developmental outcomes.

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13292

Goddings, A.L., Beltz, A., Peper, J.S., Crone, E.A., & Braams, B.R. (2019).
Understanding the role of puberty in structural and functional development of the adolescent brain.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, 29(1), 32-53.

Over the past two decades, there has been a tremendous increase in our understanding of structural and functional brain development in adolescence. However, understanding the role of puberty in this process has received much less attention. This review examines this relationship by summarizing recent research studies where the role of puberty was investigated in relation to brain structure, connectivity, and task-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The studies together suggest that puberty may contribute to adolescent neural reorganization and maturational advancement, and sex differences also emerge in puberty. The current body of work shows some mixed results regarding impact and exact direction of pubertal influence. We discuss several limitations of current studies and propose future directions on how to move the field forward.

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13292

Klapwijk, E. T., Van De Kamp, F., Van Der Meulen, M., Peters, S., & Wierenga, L. M. (2019).
Qoala-T: A supervised-learning tool for quality control of FreeSurfer segmented MRI data.
Neuroimage, 189, 116-129.

Performing quality control to detect image artifacts and data-processing errors is crucial in structural magnetic resonance imaging, especially in developmental studies. Currently, many studies rely on visual inspection by trained raters for quality control. The subjectivity of these manual procedures lessens comparability between studies, and with growing study sizes quality control is increasingly time consuming. In addition, both inter-rater as well as intra-rater variability of manual quality control is high and may lead to inclusion of poor quality scans and exclusion of scans of usable quality. In the current study we present the Qoala-T tool, which is an easy and free to use supervised-learning model to reduce rater bias and misclassification in manual quality control procedures using FreeSurfer-processed scans. First, we manually rated quality of N = 784 FreeSurfer-processed T1-weighted scans acquired in three different waves in a longitudinal study. Different supervised-learning models were then compared to predict manual quality ratings using FreeSurfer segmented output data. Results show that the Qoala-T tool using random forests is able to predict scan quality with both high sensitivity and specificity (mean area under the curve (AUC) = 0.98). In addition, the Qoala-T tool was also able to adequately predict the quality of two novel unseen datasets (total N = 872). Finally, analyses of age effects showed that younger participants were more likely to have lower scan quality, underlining that scan quality might confound findings attributed to age effects. These outcomes indicate that this procedure could further help to reduce variability related to manual quality control, thereby benefiting the comparability of data quality between studies.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.01.014 

Klapwijk, E. T., van den Bos, W., Tamnes, C. K., Mills, K. L., & Raschle, N. (2019, December 18).
Opportunities for increased reproducibility and replicability of developmental cognitive neuroscience.
PsyArxiv preprint

Recently, many workflows and tools that aim to increase the reproducibility and replicability of research findings have been suggested. In this review, we discuss the opportunities that these efforts offer for the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience. We focus on issues broadly related to statistical power and to flexibility and transparency in data analyses. Critical considerations relating to statistical power include challenges in recruitment and testing of young populations, how to increase the value of studies with small samples, and the opportunities and challenges related to working with large-scale datasets. Developmental studies also involve challenges such as choices about age groupings, modelling across the lifespan, the analyses of longitudinal changes, and neuroimaging data that can be processed and analyzed in a multitude of ways. Flexibility in data acquisition, analyses and description may thereby greatly impact results. We discuss methods for improving transparency in developmental cognitive neuroscience, and how preregistration of studies can improve methodological rigor in the field. While outlining challenges and issues that may arise before, during, and after data collection, solutions and resources are highlighted aiding to overcome some of these. Since the number of useful tools and techniques is ever-growing, we highlight the fact that many practices can be implemented stepwise.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/fxjzt

Li, R., Utevsky, A.V., Huettel, S.A., Braams, B.R., Peters, S., Crone, E.A., Van Duijvenvoorde, A.C.K. (2019).
Developmental maturation of the precuneus as a functional core of the default mode network.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 10, 1506-1519.

Efforts to map the functional architecture of the developing human brain have shown that connectivity between and within functional neural networks changes from childhood to adulthood. Although prior work has established that the adult precuneus distinctively modifies its connectivity during task versus rest states [Utevsky, A. V., Smith, D. V., & Huettel, S. A. Precuneus is a functional core of the default-mode network. Journal of Neuroscience, 34, 932-940, 2014], it remains unknown how these connectivity patterns emerge over development. Here, we use fMRI data collected at two longitudinal time points from over 250 participants between the ages of 8 and 26 years engaging in two cognitive tasks and a resting-state scan. By applying independent component analysis to both task and rest data, we identified three canonical networks of interest-the rest-based default mode network and the task-based left and right frontoparietal networks (LFPN and RFPN, respectively)-which we explored for developmental changes using dual regression analyses. We found systematic state-dependent functional connectivity in the precuneus, such that engaging in a task (compared with rest) resulted in greater precuneus-LFPN and precuneus-RFPN connectivity, whereas being at rest (compared with task) resulted in greater precuneus-default mode network connectivity. These cross-sectional results replicated across both tasks and at both developmental time points. Finally, we used longitudinal mixed models to show that the degree to which precuneus distinguishes between task and rest states increases with age, due to age-related increasing segregation between precuneus and LFPN at rest. Our results highlight the distinct role of the precuneus in tracking processing state, in a manner that is both present throughout and strengthened across development.

DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_01426

Spaans J.P., Will G.J., Van Hoorn J. & Güroğlu B. (2019).
Turning a Blind Eye? Punishment of Friends and Unfamiliar Peers After Observed Exclusion in Adolescence.
Journal of Research on Adolescence 29(2): 508-522.

In order to decrease the occurrence of social exclusion in adolescence, we need to better understand how adolescents perceive and behave toward peers involved in exclusion. We examined the role of friendships in treatment of perpetrators and victims of social exclusion. Eighty‐nine participants (aged 9–16) observed exclusion of an unfamiliar peer (victim) by their best friend and another unfamiliar peer. Subsequently, participants could give up valuable coins to altruistically punish or help peers. Results showed that participants altruistically compensated victims and punished unfamiliar excluders, but refrained from punishing their friends. Our findings show that friendship with excluders modulates altruistic punishment of peers and provide mechanistic insight into how friendships may influence treatment of peers involved in social exclusion during adolescence.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12401

van de Groep, S., Zanolie, K., & Crone, E. A. (2019).
Giving to Friends, Classmates, and Strangers in Adolescence.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, 30(S2).

This study examined how perspective taking and sensitivity to social rewards predict giving to friends, classmates, and strangers in adolescence. Five hundred and twenty adolescents aged 12–17 years completed questionnaires on perspective taking and social rewards and played three Dictator Games in which they divided coins between themselves and a friend, classmate, and stranger. We found that, irrespective of age, adolescents donated most to a friend, less to their classmate, and least to a stranger, and females donated more than males. Individual differences in perspective taking and social reward sensitivity moderated how much adolescents donated, especially to strangers. These findings suggest that perspective taking and sensitivity to social rewards influence giving behavior in adolescence, especially to unknown others.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12491

van der Cruijsen, Murphy, J., & Bird, G. (2019).
Alexithymic traits can explain the association between puberty and symptoms of depression and anxiety in adolescent females. 
PLoS ONE, 14(1), e0210519

Symptoms of internalizing disorders such as depression and anxiety increase in adolescence, especially in females. However, gender differences in depression and anxiety symptoms emerge only after puberty onset. Levels of alexithymia, characterized by difficulties identifying and describing one’s emotions, are elevated in depression and anxiety, and fluctuate across adolescence in a gender-specific manner. This study investigated changes in alexithymia across adolescence, and explored the potential role of alexithymia in the development of depression and anxiety, separately for females and males. Accordingly, 140 adolescents aged 11 to 21 years (77 female) completed self-report measures of alexithymia, depression and anxiety, and pubertal development. For females alone, pubertal maturation was associated with alexithymic traits (specifically difficulties identifying and describing feelings), as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety. After accounting for alexithymia, the relationship between puberty and depression and anxiety was absent or reduced in females. Thus, alexithymic traits may have differential consequences for males and females, and possibly contribute towards increased depression and anxiety symptoms in females during adolescence. We propose that developmental changes in alexithymia should be considered when studying the onset and development of internalizing psychological disorders during adolescence.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210519

Van den Heuvel, M.P…. Crone, E.A., …De Lange, S.C. (2019).
10Kin1day: A bottom-up neuroimaging initiative.
Frontiers in Neurology, 10, 425.

We organized 10Kin1day, a pop-up scientific event with the goal to bring together neuroimaging groups from around the world to jointly analyze 10,000+ existing MRI connectivity datasets during a 3-day workshop. In this report, we describe the motivation and principles of 10Kin1day, together with a public release of 8,000+ MRI connectome maps of the human brain.

DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00425

van der Aar, L.P.E., Peters, S., van der Cruijsen, R., & Crone, E.A. (2019).
The neural correlates of academic self-concept in adolescence and the relation to making future-oriented academic choices. 
Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 15, 10-17.

This study examined the role of brain regions involved in academic self-evaluation in relation to problems with study orientation. For this purpose, 48 participants between ages 14–20 years evaluated themselves on academic traits sentences in an fMRI session. In addition, participants completed an orientation to study choice questionnaire, evaluated the importance of academic traits, and completed a reading and shortened IQ test as an index of cognitive performance. Behavioral results showed that academic self-evaluations were a more important predictor for problems with study orientation compared to subjective academic importance or academic performance. On a neural level, we found that individual differences in the positivity of academic self-evaluations were reflected in increased precuneus activity. Moreover, precuneus activity mediated the relation between academic self positivity and problems with study orientation. Together, these findings support the importance of studying academic self-concept and its neural correlates in the educational decision-making process.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tine.2019.02.003

van der Cruijsen, Peters, S., Zoetendaal, K.P.M., Pfeifer, J.H., & Crone, E.A. (2019).
Direct and reflected self-concept show increasing similarity across adolescence: A functional neuroimaging study. 
Neuropsychologia, 129, 407-417.

In adolescence, the perceived opinions of others are important in the construction of one’s self-concept. Previous studies found involvement of medial Prefrontal Cortex (mPFC) and temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) in direct (own perspective) and reflected (perceived perspective of others) self-evaluations, but no studies to date examined differences in these processes across adolescence. In this study, 150 adolescents between 11 and 21 years old evaluated their traits from their own perspective and from the perceived perspective of peers in a fMRI session. Results showed overlapping behavioural and neural measures for direct and reflected self-evaluations, in mPFC, precuneus and right TPJ. The difference in behavioural ratings declined with age, and this pattern was mirrored by activity in the mPFC, showing a diminishing difference in activation for direct > reflected self-evaluations with increasing age. Right TPJ was engaged more strongly for reflected > direct evaluations in adolescents who were less positive about themselves, and those who showed who showed less item-by-item agreement between direct and reflected self-evaluations. Together, the results suggest that the internalization of others’ opinions in constructing a self-concept occurs on both the behavioural and neural levels across adolescence, which may aid in developing a stable self-concept.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.05.001

van der Cruijsen, Buisman, R., Green, K., Peters, S., & Crone, E.A. (2019).
Neural responses for evaluating self and mother traits in adolescence depend on mother-adolescent relationships. 
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 14(5), 481-492.

An important task in adolescence is to achieve autonomy while preserving a positive relationship with parents. Previous fMRI studies showed largely overlapping activation in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) for evaluating self and close-other traits but separable activation for self and non-close other. Possibly, more similar mPFC activation reflects closeness or warmth in relationships. We investigated neural indicators of the mother–adolescent relationship in adolescents between 11 and 21 years (N = 143). Mother–adolescent relationship was measured using (i) mothers’ and adolescents’ trait evaluations about each other, (ii) observations of warmth, negativity and emotional support in mother–adolescent conversation and (iii) similarity in adolescents’ neural activation for evaluating self vs mother traits. Results showed relatively more similar mPFC activation in adolescents who evaluated their mothers’ traits more positively, suggesting that this is possibly a neural indicator of mother–adolescent relationship quality. Furthermore, mid-adolescence was characterized by more negative mother–adolescent interaction compared to early and late adolescence. This effect co-occurred with mid-adolescent peaks in dorsal striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and superior temporal sulcus activation in evaluating traits of self vs mother. These results suggest more negative relationships and stronger self-focus in mid-adolescence.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsz023

Van Duijvenvoorde, A.C.K., Westhoff, B., De Vos, F., Wierenga, L.M., & Crone, E.A. (2019).
A three-wave longitudinal study of subcortical-cortical resting-state connectivity in adolescence: Testing age- and puberty-related changes.
Human Brain Mapping, 40(13), 3769-3783.

Adolescence is the transitional period between childhood and adulthood, characterized by substantial changes in reward-driven behavior. Although reward-driven behavior is supported by subcortical-medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) connectivity, the development of these circuits is not well understood. Particularly, while puberty has been hypothesized to accelerate organization and activation of functional neural circuits, the relationship between age, sex, pubertal change, and functional connectivity has hardly been studied. Here, we present an analysis of resting-state functional connectivity between subcortical structures and the medial PFC, in 661 scans of 273 participants between 8 and 29 years, using a three-wave longitudinal design. Generalized additive mixed model procedures were used to assess the effects of age, sex, and self-reported pubertal status on connectivity between subcortical structures (nucleus accumbens, caudate, putamen, hippocampus, and amygdala) and cortical medial structures (dorsal anterior cingulate, ventral anterior cingulate, subcallosal cortex, frontal medial cortex). We observed an age-related strengthening of subcortico-subcortical and cortico-cortical connectivity. Subcortical-cortical connectivity, such as, between the nucleus accumbens-frontal medial cortex, and the caudate-dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, however, weakened across age. Model-based comparisons revealed that for specific connections pubertal development described developmental change better than chronological age. This was particularly the case for changes in subcortical-cortical connectivity and distinctively for boys and girls. Together, these findings indicate changes in functional network strengthening with pubertal development. These changes in functional connectivity may maximize the neural efficiency of interregional communication and set the stage for further inquiry of biological factors driving adolescent functional connectivity changes.

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.24630

Wierenga, L.M., Bos, M.G.N., Van Rossenberg, F. & Crone, E.A. (2019).
Sex effects on development of brain structure and executive functions: Greater variance than mean effects.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 31(5), 730-753.

Although male brains have consistently reported to be 8-10% larger than female brains, it remains not well understood whether there are differences between sexes (average or variance) in developmental trajectories. Furthermore, if sex differences in average brain growth or variance are observed, it is unknown whether these sex differences have behavioral relevance. The present longitudinal study aimed to unravel sex effects in cortical brain structure, development, and variance, in relation to the development of educationally relevant cognitive domains and executive functions (EFs). This was assessed with three experimental tasks including working memory, reading comprehension, and fluency. In addition, real-life aspects of EF were assessed with self- and parent-reported Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function scores. The full data set included 271 participants (54% female) aged between 8 and 29 years of which three waves were collected at 2-year intervals, resulting in 680 T1-weighted MRI scans and behavioral measures. Analyses of average trajectories confirmed general age-related patterns of brain development but did not support the hypothesis of sex differences in brain development trajectories, except for left banks STS where boys had a steeper decline in surface area than girls. Also, our brain age prediction model (including 270 brain measures) did not indicate delayed maturation in boys compared with girls. Interestingly, support was found for greater variance in male brains than female brains in both structure and development, consistent with prior cross-sectional studies. Behaviorally, boys performed on average better on a working memory task with a spatial aspect and girls performed better on a reading comprehension task, but there was no relation between brain development and cognitive performance, neither for average brain measures, brain age, or variance measures. Taken together, we confirmed the hypothesis of greater males within-group variance in brain structures compared with females, but these were not related to EF. The sex differences observed in EF were not related to brain development, possibly suggesting that these are related to experiences and strategies rather than biological development.

DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_01375


Achterberg, M., van Duijvenvoorde, A. C. K., van der Meulen, M., BakermansKranenburg, M. J. & Crone, E. A. (2018).
Heritability of aggression following social evaluation in middle childhood: An fMRI study.
Human Brain Mapping, 39, 2828-2841.

Middle childhood marks an important phase for developing and maintaining social relations. At the same time, this phase is marked by a gap in our knowledge of the genetic and environmental influences on brain responses to social feedback and their relation to behavioral aggression. In a large developmental twin sample (509 7- to 9-year-olds), the heritability and neural underpinnings of behavioral aggression following social evaluation were investigated, using the Social Network Aggression Task (SNAT). Participants viewed pictures of peers that gave positive, neutral, or negative feedback to the participant’s profile. Next, participants could blast a loud noise toward the peer as an index of aggression. Genetic modeling revealed that aggression following negative feedback was influenced by both genetics and environmental (shared as well as unique environment). On a neural level (n = 385), the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex gyrus (ACCg) responded to both positive and negative feedback, suggesting they signal for social salience cues. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) were specifically activated during negative feedback, whereas positive feedback resulted in increased activation in caudate, supplementary motor cortex (SMA), and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Decreased SMA and DLPFC activation during negative feedback was associated with more aggressive behavior after negative feedback. Moreover, genetic modeling showed that 13%-14% of the variance in dorsolateral PFC activity was explained by genetics. Our results suggest that the processing of social feedback is partly explained by genetic factors, whereas shared environmental influences play a role in behavioral aggression following feedback.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24043

Achterberg, M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., van IJzendoorn, M. H., van der Meulen, M., Tottenham, N. & Crone, E. A. (2018).
Distinctive heritability patterns of subcortical-prefrontal cortex resting state connectivity in childhood: A twin study.
Neuroimage, 175, 138-149.

Connectivity between limbic/subcortical and prefrontal-cortical brain regions develops considerably across childhood, but less is known about the heritability of these networks at this age. We tested the heritability of limbic/subcortical-cortical and limbic/subcortical-subcortical functional brain connectivity in 7- to 9-year-old twins (N = 220), focusing on two key limbic/subcortical structures: the ventral striatum and the amygdala, given their combined influence on changing incentivised behavior during childhood and adolescence. Whole brain analyses with ventral striatum (VS) and amygdala as seeds in genetically independent groups showed replicable functional connectivity patterns. The behavioral genetic analyses revealed that in general VS and amygdala connectivity showed distinct influences of genetics and environment. VS-prefrontal cortex connections were best described by genetic and unique environmental factors (the latter including measurement error), whereas amygdala-prefrontal cortex connectivity was mainly explained by environmental influences. Similarities were also found: connectivity between both the VS and amygdala and ventral anterior cingulate cortex (vACC) showed influences of shared environment, while connectivity with the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) showed heritability. These findings may inform future interventions that target behavioral control and emotion regulation, by taking into account genetic dispositions as well as shared and unique environmental factors such as child rearing.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.076

Becht, A.I., Bos, Marieke G. N., Nelemans, S.A., Peters, Sabine, Vollebergh, W.A.M., Branje, S.J.T., Meeus, W.H.J. & Crone, Eveline (2018).
Goal-Directed Correlates and Neurobiological Underpinnings of Adolescent Identity - A Multimethod Multisample Longitudinal Approach.
Child Development, 89, 823-836.

Studies on identity formation focus on various components of identity. However, these components have mainly been studied separately, and researchers in different fields are not always aware of each other’s work. Therefore, this systematic review provides an overview of theories and empirical studies on three key components of identity: distinctiveness (seeing the self as unique and distinct from others), coherence (perceiving the self as similar across life domains), and continuity (perceiving the self as the same person over time). This systematic review focused on the development of these components and linkages with psychosocial functioning. Findings suggest important differences between the three identity components. Therefore, we propose an integrative developmental framework of identity, including all three identity components and their linkages.

DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1027/1016-9040/a000334

Blankenstein, N.E., Schreuders, E., Peper, J.S., Crone, E.A., & Van Duijvenvoorde, A.C.K. (2018).
Individual differences in risk-taking tendencies modulate the neural processing of risky and ambiguous decision-making in adolescence.
Neuroimage, 172, 663-673.

Although many neuroimaging studies have investigated adolescent risk taking, few studies have dissociated between decision-making under risk (known probabilities) and ambiguity (unknown probabilities). Furthermore, which brain regions are sensitive to individual differences in task-related and self-reported risk taking remains elusive. We presented 198 adolescents (11-24 years, an age-range in which individual differences in risk taking are prominent) with an fMRI paradigm that separated decision-making (choosing to gamble or not) and reward outcome processing (gains, no gains) under risky and ambiguous conditions, and related this to task-related and self-reported risk taking. We observed distinct neural mechanisms underlying risky and ambiguous gambling, with risk more prominently associated with activation in parietal cortex, and ambiguity more prominently with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC), as well as medial PFC during outcome processing. Individual differences in task-related risk taking were positively associated with ventral striatum activation in the decision phase, specifically for risk, and negatively associated with insula and dorsomedial PFC activation, specifically for ambiguity. Moreover, dorsolateral PFC activation in the outcome phase seemed a prominent marker for individual differences in task-related risk taking under ambiguity as well as self-reported daily-life risk taking, in which greater risk taking was associated with reduced activation in dorsolateral PFC. Together, this study demonstrates the importance of considering multiple risk-taking measures, and contextual moderators, in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying adolescent risk taking.

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.01.085

Bos, M.G.N., Peters, S., van de Kamp, F., Crone, E.A., & Tamnes, C.K. (2018).
Emerging depression in adolescence coincides with accelerated frontal cortical thinning.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59(9), 994-1002.


Background: Adolescence is a transition period characterized by heightened emotional reactivity, which for some sets the stage for emerging depressive symptoms. Prior studies suggest that adolescent depression is associated with deviant cortical and subcortical brain structure. Longitudinal studies are, however, currently scarce, but critical to detect which adolescents are at risk for developing depressive symptoms.

Methods: In this longitudinal study, a community sample of 205 participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in three biennial waves (522 scans) spanning 5 years across ages 8-25 years. Depressive symptomatology was assessed using self-report at the third time point. Mixed models were used to examine the relations between structural brain development, specifically regional change in cortical thickness, surface area and subcortical volumes (hippocampus and amygdala), and depressive symptoms.

Results: Accelerated frontal lobe cortical thinning was observed in adolescents who developed depressive symptoms at the third time point. This effect remained after controlling for parent-reported affective problems at the first time point. Moreover, the effect was driven by specific lateral orbitofrontal and precentral regions. In addition, differential developmental trajectories of parietal cortical thickness and surface area in several regions were found for participants reporting higher depressive symptomatology, but these results did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. Volumes or developmental volume changes in hippocampus or amygdala were not related to depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: This study showed that emerging depression is associated with cortical thinning in frontal regions within individuals. These findings move beyond detecting cross-sectional correlations and set the stage for early detection, which may inform future intervention.

DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12895

Bos, M.G.N., Wierenga, L.N., Blankenstein, N.E., Schreuders, E., Tamnes, C.K., Crone, E.A. (2018).
Longitudinal structural brain development and externalizing behaviour in adolescence.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59(10), 1061-1072).


Background: Cross-sectional studies report relations between externalizing behavior and structural abnormalities in cortical thickness of prefrontal regions and volume reductions in subcortical regions. To understand how these associations emerge and develop, longitudinal designs are pivotal.

Method: In the current longitudinal study, a community sample of children, adolescents and young adults (N = 271) underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in three biennial waves (680 scans). At each wave, aspects of externalizing behavior were assessed with parent-reported aggression and rule-breaking scores (Child Behavior Checklist), and self-reported aggression scores (Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire). Regions of interest (ROIs) were selected based on prior research: dorsolateral prefrontal (dlPFC), orbitofrontal (OFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), insula, and parahippocampal cortex, as well as subcortical regions. Linear mixed models were used to assess the longitudinal relation between externalizing behavior and structural brain development. Structural covariance analyses were employed to identify whether longitudinal relations between ROIs (maturational coupling) were associated with externalizing behavior.

Results: Linear mixed model analyses showed a negative relation between parent-reported aggression and right hippocampal volume. Moreover, this longitudinal relation was driven by change in hippocampal volume and not initial volume of hippocampus at time point 1. Exploratory analyses showed that stronger maturational coupling between prefrontal regions, the limbic system, and striatum was associated with both low and high externalizing behavior.

Conclusions: Together, these findings reinforce the hypothesis that altered structural brain development coincides with development of more externalizing behavior. These findings may guide future research on normative and deviant development of externalizing behavior.

DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12972

Crone, E.A. & Konijn, E.A. (2018).
Media use and brain development during adolescence.
Nature Communications, 9:588.


The current generation of adolescents grows up in a media-saturated world. However, it is unclear how media influences the maturational trajectories of brain regions involved in social interactions. Here we review the neural development in adolescence and show how neuroscience can provide a deeper understanding of developmental sensitivities related to adolescents’ media use. We argue that adolescents are highly sensitive to acceptance and rejection through social media, and that their heightened emotional sensitivity and protracted development of reflective processing and cognitive control may make them specifically reactive to emotion-arousing media. This review illustrates how neuroscience may help understand the mutual influence of media and peers on adolescents’ well-being and opinion formation.

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03126-x

Guyer, A.E., Perez-Edgar, K. & Crone, E.A. (2018).
Opportunities for neurodevelopmental plasticity from infancy through early adulthood.
Child Development, 89(3), 687-697.


Multiple and rapid changes in brain development occur in infancy and early childhood that undergird behavioral development in core domains. The period of adolescence also carries a second influx of growth and change in the brain to support the unique developmental tasks of adolescence. This special section documents two core conclusions from multiple studies. First, evidence for change in brain-based metrics that underlie cognitive and behavioral functions are not limited to narrow windows in development, but are evident from infancy into early adulthood. Second, the specific evident changes are unique to challenges and goals that are salient for a respective developmental period. These brain-based changes interface with environmental inputs, whether from the child’s broader ecology or at an individual level.

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13073

Peper,J.S., Braams, B.R., Blankenstein, N.E., Bos, M.G.N, & Crone, E.A. (2018).
Development of multi-faceted risk-taking and the relations to steroid hormones: A longitudinal study.
Child Development, 89(5), 1887-1907.

Risk taking is a multidimensional construct. It is currently unclear which aspects of risk-taking change most during adolescence and if/how sex hormones contribute to risk-taking tendencies. This study applied a longitudinal design with three time-points, separated by 2 years, in participants aged 8-29 years (670 observations). The Balloon Analogue Risk Task, a delay discounting task, and various self-report questionnaires were administered, to measure aspects of risk taking. Longitudinal analyses demonstrated mostly nonlinear age-related patterns in risk-taking behavior and approach-related personality characteristics (peaking in late adolescence). Increased testosterone and estradiol were found to increase risk-taking behavior and impulsive personality, but decrease avoidance-like personality. This study demonstrates that risk taking is most pronounced in mid-to-late adolescence and suggests that sex hormones accelerate this maturational process.

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13063

Schreuders, E., Braams, B.R., Blankenstein, N.E., Peper, J.S., Guroglu, B. & Crone, E.A. (2018).
Contributions of reward sensitivity to ventral striatum activity across adolescence and early adulthood.
Child Development, 89(3), 797-810.

It was examined how ventral striatum responses to rewards develop across adolescence and early adulthood and how individual differences in state- and trait-level reward sensitivity are related to these changes. Participants (aged 8-29 years) were tested across three waves separated by 2 years (693 functional MRI scans) in an accelerated longitudinal design. The results confirmed an adolescent peak in reward-related ventral striatum, specifically nucleus accumbens, activity. In early to mid-adolescence, increases in reward activation were related to trait-level reward drive. In mid-adolescence to early adulthood decreases in reward activation were related to decreases in state-level hedonic reward pleasure. This study demonstrates that state- and trait-level reward sensitivity account for reward-related ventral striatum activity in different phases of adolescence and early adulthood.

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13056

Spaans J.P., Burke S.M., Altikulac S., Braams B.R., Op de Macks Z.A. & Crone E.A. (2018).
Win for your kin: Neural responses to personal and vicarious rewards when mothers win for their adolescent children.
PLoS ONE 13(6): e0198663.

Mother-child relationships change considerably in adolescence, but it is not yet understood how mothers experience vicarious rewards for their adolescent children. In the current study, we investigated neural responses of twenty mothers winning and losing money for their best friend and for their adolescent child in a gambling task. During the task, functional neuroimaging data were acquired. We examined the activation patterns when playing for or winning for self, adolescent children and friends in four a-priori selected ROIs (nucleus accumbens, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, precuneus and temporo-parietal junction). Behaviorally, mothers indicated that they experienced most enjoyment when they gained money for their children and that their children deserved to win more, relative to friends and self. At the neural level, nucleus accumbens activity was stronger when winning versus losing. This pattern was not only found when playing for self, but also for friends and children, possibly reflecting the rewarding value of vicarious prosocial gains. In addition, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, precuneus, and temporo-parietal junction were more active when receiving outcomes for children and friends compared to self, possibly reflecting increased recruitment of mentalizing processes. Interestingly, activity in this network was stronger for mothers who indicated that their children and friends deserved to win more. These findings provide initial evidence that vicarious rewards for one’s children are processed similarly as rewards for self, and that activation in social brain regions are related to social closeness.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198663

Tamnes, C.K., Bos, M.G.N., Van de Kamp, F.C., Peters, S., & Crone, E.A. (2018).
Longitudinal development of hippocampus subregions from childhood to adulthood.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 30, 212-222.

Detailed descriptions of the development of the hippocampus promise to shed light on the neural foundation of development of memory and other cognitive functions, as well as the emergence of major mental disorders. Hippocampus is a heterogeneous structure with a well characterized internal complexity, but development of its distinct subregions in humans has remained poorly described. We analyzed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from a large longitudinal sample (270 participants, 678 scans) using an automated segmentation tool and mixed models to delineate the development of hippocampal subregion volumes from childhood to adulthood. We also examined sex differences in subregion volumes and their development, and associations between hippocampal subregions and general cognitive ability. Nonlinear developmental trajectories with early volume increases were observed for subiculum, cornu ammonis (CA) 1, molecular layer (ML) and fimbria. In contrast, parasubiculum, presubiculum, CA2/3, CA4 and the granule cell layer of the dentate gyrus (GC-DG) showed linear volume decreases. No sex differences were found in hippocampal subregion development. Finally, general cognitive ability was positively associated with CA2/3 and CA4 volumes, as well as with ML development. In conclusion, hippocampal subregions appear to develop in diversified ways across adolescence, and specific subregions may link to general cognitive level.

DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2018.03.009

van der Cruijsen, R., Peters, S., van der Aar, L.P.E., & Crone, E.A. (2018).
The neural signature of self-concept development in adolescence: The role of domain and valence distinctions. 
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 30, 1-12.

Neuroimaging studies in adults showed that cortical midline regions including medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and posterior parietal cortex (PPC) are important in self-evaluations. The goals of this study were to investigate the contribution of these regions to self-evaluations in late childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, and to examine whether these differed per domain (academic, physical and prosocial) and valence (positive versus negative). Also, we tested whether this activation changes across adolescence. For this purpose, participants between ages 11–21-years (N = 150) evaluated themselves on trait sentences in an fMRI session. Behaviorally, adolescents rated their academic traits less positively than children and young adults. The neural analyses showed that evaluating self-traits versus a control condition was associated with increased activity in mPFC (domain-general effect), and positive traits were associated with increased activity in ventral mPFC (valence effect). Self-related mPFC activation increased linearly with age, but only for evaluating physical traits. Furthermore, an adolescent-specific decrease in striatum activation for positive self traits was found. Finally, we found domain-specific neural activity for evaluating traits in physical (dorsolateral PFC, dorsal mPFC) and academic (PPC) domains. Together, these results highlight the importance of domain distinctions when studying self-concept development in late childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2017.11.005

Van den Bos, W., Crone, E.A., Meuwese, R. & Guroglu, B. (2018).
Social network cohesion in school classes promotes prosocial behaviour.
PLoS One, 13(4), e0194656.

Adolescence is a key period of social development at the end of which individuals are expected to take on adult social roles. The school class, as the most salient peer group, becomes the prime environment that impacts social development during adolescence. Using social network analyses, we investigated how individual and group level features are related to prosocial behavior and social capital (generalized trust). We mapped the social networks within 22 classrooms of adolescents aged between 12 and 18 years (N = 611), and collected data on social behaviors towards peers. Our results indicate that individuals with high centrality show both higher levels of prosocial behavior and relational aggression. Importantly, greater social cohesion in the classroom was associated with (1) reduced levels of antisocial behavior towards peers and (2) increased generalized trust. These results provide novel insights in the relationship between social structure and social behavior, and stress the importance of the school environment in the development of not only intellectual but also social capital.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194656

Van der Aar, L.P.E., Peters, S., & Crone, E.A. (2018).
The development of self-views across adolescence: Investigating self-descriptions with and without social comparison using a novel experimental paradigm.
Cognitive Development, 48, 256-270.

Adolescence has been described as a unique period for self-concept development, with an intensified alertness to social comparison as a mechanism for self-knowledge and self-evaluation. However, it remains difficult to disentangle the specific influence of these social comparisons on the development of self-descriptions in adolescence. Moreover, it is still unclear how social comparisons impact upon the development of self-views in different domains, such as physical, academic and social self-views. The goal of this study was therefore to examine the development of self-descriptions in different domains across adolescence, and to experimentally test how the development of these self-descriptions is altered by an explicit social comparison context. For this purpose, we developed two tasks which both asked participants (aged 9-25-years, N = 202) for trait self-descriptions but differed in the salience of a social comparison. Results showed consistent age-differences with more positive self-views for children and adolescents in the age-range 9–14 years. The context of explicit social comparison yielded similar as well as additional age-differences that were more dependent upon valence and domain. Moreover, mid-adolescents (15–17 y) were most negatively affected by these social comparisons relative to other ages. Together, this study made a first step in disentangling the specific influence of social comparison outcomes within the development of general self-descriptions, and highlights the importance of social context in studying self-concept in adolescence.

DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2018.10.001

van Doeselaar, Lotte, Becht, A.I., Klimstra, T.A. & Meeus, W.H.J. (2018).
A Review and Integration of Three Key Components of Identity Development: Distinctiveness, Coherence, and Continuity.
European Psychologist, 23, 278-288.
*Lotte van Doeselaar and Andrik I. Becht shared first authorship.

This multimethod multisample longitudinal study examined how neurological substrates associated with goal directedness and information seeking are related to adolescents’ identity. Self-reported data on goal-directedness were collected across three biannual waves in Study 1. Identity was measured one wave later. Study 1 design and measurements were repeated in Study 2 and extended with structural brain data (nucleus accumbens [NAcc] and prefrontal cortex gray matter volume [PFC]), collected across three biannual waves. Study 1 included 497 adolescents (Mage T1  = 13.03 years) and Study 2 included 131 adolescents (Mage T1  = 14.69 years). Using latent growth curve models, goal directedness, NAcc, and PFC volume predicted a stronger identity one wave later. These findings provide crucial new insights in the underlying neurobiological architecture of identity.

DOI:  10.1111/cdev.13048

Wierenga, L.M., Bos, M.G.N., Schreuders, E., Van de Kamp, F., Peper, J.S., Tamnes, C.K., & Crone, E.A. (2018).
Unraveling age, puberty, and testosterone effects on subcortical brain development across adolescence.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, 91, 105-114.

The onset of adolescence in humans is marked by hormonal changes that give rise to secondary sexual characteristics, noted as puberty. It has, however, proven challenging to unravel to what extent pubertal changes may have organizing effects on the brain beyond chronological age, as reported in animal studies. The present longitudinal study aimed to characterize the unique effects of age and puberty on subcortical brain volumes and included three waves of data collection at two-year intervals and 680 T1-weighted MRI scans of 271 participants (54% females) aged between 8 and 29 years old. Generalized additive mixed model procedures were used to assess the effects of age, self-report pubertal status and testosterone level on basal ganglia, thalamus, hippocampus, amygdala and cerebellum gray matter volumes. We observed age-related increases in putamen and pallidum volumes, and decreases in accumbens and thalamus volumes, all show larger volumes in boys than girls. Only the cerebellum showed an interaction effect of age by sex, such that males showed prolonged increases in cerebellar volume than females. Next, we showed that changes in self-report puberty status better described developmental change than chronological age for most structures in males, and for caudate, pallidum and hippocampal volumes in females. Furthermore, changes in testosterone level were related to development of pallidum, accumbens, hippocampus and amygdala volumes in males and caudate and hippocampal volumes in females. The modeling approach of the present study allowed us to characterize the complex interactions between chronological age and pubertal maturational changes, and the findings indicate puberty unique changes in brain structure that are sex specific.

DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.02.034

Wierenga, L.M., Van den Heuvel, M.P., Oranje, B., Giedd, J.N., Durston, S., Peper, J.S., Brown, T.T., Crone, E.A.
The Pediatric Longitdunal Imaging, Neurocognition and Genetics Study (2018).
Human Brain Mapping, 39(1), 157-170

Recent advances in human neuroimaging research have revealed that white-matter connectivity can be described in terms of an integrated network, which is the basis of the human connectome. However, the developmental changes of this connectome in childhood are not well understood. This study made use of two independent longitudinal diffusion-weighted imaging data sets to characterize developmental changes in the connectome by estimating age-related changes in fractional anisotropy (FA) for reconstructed fibers (edges) between 68 cortical regions. The first sample included 237 diffusion-weighted scans of 146 typically developing children (4-13 years old, 74 females) derived from the Pediatric Longitudinal Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics (PLING) study. The second sample included 141 scans of 97 individuals (8-13 years old, 62 females) derived from the BrainTime project. In both data sets, we compared edges that had the most substantial age-related change in FA to edges that showed little change in FA. This allowed us to investigate if developmental changes in white matter reorganize network topology. We observed substantial increases in edges connecting peripheral and a set of highly connected hub regions, referred to as the rich club. Together with the observed topological differences between regions connecting to edges showing the smallest and largest changes in FA, this indicates that changes in white matter affect network organization, such that highly connected regions become even more strongly imbedded in the network. These findings suggest that an important process in brain development involves organizing patterns of inter-regional interactions.

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23833

Will, G.J., Crone, E.A., Van Lier, P.A.C., & Guroglu, B. (2018).
Longitudinal links between childhood peer acceptance and the neural correlates of sharing.
Developmental Science, 21(1).

Childhood peer acceptance is associated with high levels of prosocial behavior and advanced perspective taking skills. Yet, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these associations have not been studied. This functional magnetic resonance imaging study examined the neural correlates of sharing decisions in a group of adolescents who had a stable accepted status (n = 27) and a group who had a chronic rejected status (n = 19) across six elementary school grades. Both groups of adolescents played three allocation games in which they could share money with strangers with varying costs and profits to them and the other person. Stably accepted adolescents were more likely to share their money with unknown others than chronically rejected adolescents when sharing was not costly. Neuroimaging analyses showed that stably accepted adolescents, compared to chronically rejected adolescents, exhibited higher levels of activation in the temporo-parietal junction, posterior superior temporal sulcus, temporal pole, pre-supplementary motor area, and anterior insula during costly sharing decisions. These findings demonstrate that stable peer acceptance across childhood is associated with heightened activity in brain regions previously linked to perspective taking and the detection of social norm violations during adolescence, and thereby provide insight into processes underlying the widely established links between peer acceptance and prosocial behavior.

DOI: 10.1111/desc.12489


Achterberg, M., van Duijvenvoorde, A. C. K., van der Meulen, M., Euser, S., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. & Crone, E. A. (2017).
The neural and behavioral correlates of social evaluation in childhood.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 24, 107-117.

Being accepted or rejected by peers is highly salient for developing social relations in childhood. We investigated the behavioral and neural correlates of social feedback and subsequent aggression in 7–10-year-old children, using the Social Network Aggression Task (SNAT). Participants viewed pictures of peers that gave positive, neutral or negative feedback to the participant’s profile. Next, participants could blast a loud noise towards the peer, as an index of aggression. We included three groups (N = 19, N = 28 and N = 27) and combined the results meta-analytically. Negative social feedback resulted in the most behavioral aggression, with large combined effect-sizes. Whole brain condition effects for each separate sample failed to show robust effects, possibly due to the small samples. Exploratory analyses over the combined test and replication samples confirmed heightened activation in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) after negative social feedback. Moreover, meta-analyses of activity in predefined regions of interest showed that negative social feedback resulted in more neural activation in the amygdala, anterior insula and the mPFC/anterior cingulate cortex. Together, the results show that social motivation is already highly salient in middle childhood, and indicate that the SNAT is a valid paradigm for assessing the neural and behavioral correlates of social evaluation in children.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2017.02.007

Becht, A.I., Nelemans, S.A., Branje, S.J.T., Vollebergh, W.A.M., Koot, Hans M. & Meeus, W.H.J. (2017).
Identity uncertainty and commitment making across adolescence: Five-year within-person associations using daily identity reports.
Developmental Psychology, 53, 2103-2112.

A central assumption of identity theory is that adolescents reconsider current identity commitments and explore identity alternatives before they make new commitments in various identity domains (Erikson, 1968; Marcia, 1966). Yet, little empirical evidence is available on how commitment and exploration dynamics of identity formation affect each other across adolescence at the within-person level. Therefore, the current study (N = 494, Mage Time 1 = 13.3 years) examined reciprocal within-person longitudinal linkages between adolescents’ identity exploration and identity commitment making in the interpersonal and educational identity domains. For this purpose, we constructed a multilevel type cross-lagged panel model from early to late adolescence (i.e., across 5 successive years). Results supported Erikson’s (1968) hypothesis that adolescents reconsider current identity commitments and explore alternatives before they make strong commitments within the interpersonal identity domain across early to late adolescence. Within the educational identity domain, increasing identity commitment level and commitment fluctuations predicted less identity reconsideration over time. Our findings support identity theory, but indicate that the processes of identity formation might differ depending on the identity domain.

DOI: 10.1037/dev0000374

Becht, A.I., Nelemans, S.A., Van Dijk, M.P.A., Branje, S.J.T., Van Lier, P.A.C., Denissen, J.J.A. & Meeus, W.H.J. (2017).
Clear Self, Better Relationships: Adolescents’ Self-Concept Clarity and Relationship Quality With Parents and Peers Across 5 Years.
Child Development, 88, 1823–1833.

This study examined reciprocal associations between adolescents’ self-concept clarity (SCC) and their relationship quality with parents and best friends in a five-wave longitudinal study from age 13 to 18 years. In all, 497 adolescents (57% boys) reported on their SCC and all informants (i.e., adolescents, both parents, and adolescents’ best friends) reported on support and negative interaction. Within-person cross-lagged analyses provided systematic evidence for both parent effects and child effects, with the direction of effects being strongly dependent on the relational context. For example, higher maternal support predicted higher adolescent SCC, supporting a parent effects perspective, whereas higher SCC predicted lower paternal negative interaction, supporting a child effects perspective. Peer effects on adolescent SCC were not consistently found across adolescent and best friend reports.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12921

van der Cruijsen, R., Peters, S., & Crone, E.A. (2017).
Neural correlates of evaluating self and close-other in physical, academic and prosocial domains.
Brain and cognition, 118, 45-53.

Behavioral studies showed that self-concept can be distinguished into different domains, but few neuroimaging studies have investigated either domain-specific or valence-specific activity. Here, we investigated whether evaluating self- and mother-traits in three domains (physical, academic, prosocial) relies on similar or distinct brain regions. Additionally, we explored the topical discussion in the literature on whether vmPFC activity during self-evaluations is induced by valence or importance of traits. Participants evaluated themselves and their mothers on positive and negative traits in three domains. Across all domains, evaluating traits resulted in right dlPFC, left middle temporal cortex, bilateral thalamus, and right insula activity. For physical traits, we found specific neural activity in brain regions typically implicated in mentalizing (dmPFC, IPL). For academic traits, we found a brain region typically implicated in autobiographical memories (PCC), and for prosocial traits, social brain regions (temporal pole, TPJ) were activated. Importantly, these patterns were found for both self and mother evaluations. Regarding valence, rACC/vmPFC showed stronger activation for positive than for negative traits. Interestingly, activation in this region was stronger for highly important traits compared to low/neutral important traits. Thus, this study shows that distinct neural processes are activated for evaluating positive and negative traits in different domains.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2017.07.008


Achterberg, M.*, Peper, J. S*., van Duijvenvoorde, A. C., Mandl, R. C. & Crone, E. A. (2016).
Frontostriatal White Matter Integrity Predicts Development of Delay of Gratification: A Longitudinal Study.
Journal of Neuroscience, 36, 1954-1961.
*shared first author

The ability to delay gratification increases considerably across development. Here, we test the hypothesis that this impulse control capacity is driven by increased maturation of frontostriatal circuitry using a fiber-tracking approach combined with longitudinal imaging. In total, 192 healthy volunteers between 8 and 26 years underwent diffusion tensor imaging scanning and completed a delay-discounting task twice, separated by a 2-year interval. We investigated dynamic associations between frontostriatal white matter (WM)integrity and delay of gratification skills. Moreover, we examined the predictive value of frontostriatal WM integrity for future delay of gratification skills. Results showed that delay discounting increases with age in a quadratic fashion, with greatest patience during late adolescence. Data also indicated nonlinear development of frontostriatal WM, with relative fast development during childhood and early adulthood and—on average—little change during mid-adolescence. Furthermore, the positive association between age and delay dis-counting was further increased in individuals with higher WM integrity of the frontostriatal tracts. Predictive analysis showed that frontostriatal WM development explained unique variance in current and future delay of gratification skills. This study adds to a descriptive relation between WM integrity and delay of gratification by showing that maturation of frontostriatal connectivity predicts changes in delay of gratification skills. These findings have implications for studies examining deviances in impulse control by showing that the developmental path between striatum and prefrontal cortex may be an important predictor for when development goes astray.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3459-15.2016

Achterberg, M., van Duijvenvoorde, A. C., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. & Crone, E. A. (2016).
Control your anger! The neural basis of aggression regulation in response to negative social feedback.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11, 712-720.

Negative social feedback often generates aggressive feelings and behavior. Prior studies have investigated the neural basis of negative social feedback, but the underlying neural mechanisms of aggression regulation following negative social feedback remain largely undiscovered. In the current study, participants viewed pictures of peers with feedback (positive, neutral or negative) to the participant’s personal profile. Next, participants responded to the peer feedback by pressing a button, thereby producing a loud noise toward the peer, as an index of aggression. Behavioral analyses showed that negative feedback led to more aggression (longer noise blasts). Conjunction neuroimaging analyses revealed that both positive and negative feedback were associated with increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) and bilateral insula. In addition, more activation in the right dorsal lateral PFC (dlPFC) during negative feedback vs neutral feedback was associated with shorter noise blasts in response to negative social feedback, suggesting a potential role of dlPFC in aggression regulation, or top-down control over affective impulsive actions. This study demonstrates a role of the dlPFC in the regulation of aggressive social behavior.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv154

Becht, A.I., Nelemans, S.A., Branje, S.J.T., Vollebergh, W.A.M., Koot, Hans M., Denissen, J.J.A. & Meeus, W.H.J. (2016).
The Quest for Identity in Adolescence: Heterogeneity in Daily Identity Formation and Psychosocial Adjustment Across 5 Years.
Developmental Psychology, 52, 2010-2021.

Identity formation is one of the key developmental tasks in adolescence. According to Erikson (1968) experiencing identity uncertainty is normative in adolescence. However, empirical studies investigating identity uncertainty on a daily basis are lacking. Hence, studying individual differences in daily certainty (i.e., identity commitment levels) and uncertainty (i.e., identity commitment fluctuations and identity reconsideration) in the identity formation process may advance our knowledge about the extent to which adolescents’ identity uncertainty is part of normative identity development. Therefore, this longitudinal study examined heterogeneity in certainty and uncertainty dynamics of adolescents’ daily identity formation using a longitudinal microlevel approach. Dutch adolescents (N = 494; Mage = 13.03 years at T1; 56.7% boys) reported on 2 key dimensions of identity formation (i.e., commitment and reconsideration) in both the educational and interpersonal domain on a daily basis for 3 weeks within 1 year, across 5 successive years. Multivariate latent class growth analyses suggested both in the educational and interpersonal identity domain a class of adolescents displaying a “crisis-like” identity formation process, and an “identity synthesis” class. Classes revealed differential development of (global and school) anxiety, aggression, and best friend support. Taken together, the present study confirmed Erikson’s notion that experiencing daily identity uncertainty is common during adolescence. However, a substantial amount of adolescents also showed a process toward identity maturation already during adolescence.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000245

Becht, A.I., Branje, S.J.T., Vollebergh, W.A.M., Maciejewski, D.F., van Lier, P.A.C., Koot, H.M., Denissen, J.J.A. & Meeus, W.H.J. (2016).
Assessment of Identity During Adolescence Using Daily Diary Methods - Measurement Invariance Across Time and Sex.
Psychological Assessment, 28, 660-672.

The aim of this study was to assess measurement invariance of adolescents’ daily reports on identity across time and sex. Adolescents (N = 497; mean age = 13.32 years at Time 1, 56.7% boys) from the general population reported on their identity commitments, exploration in depth and reconsideration on a daily basis for 3 weeks within 1 year across 5 years. We used the single-item version of the Utrecht Management of Identity Commitments Scale (UMICS; Klimstra et al., 2010), a broad measure of identity-formation processes covering both interpersonal and educational identity domains. This study tested configural, metric, scalar, and strict measurement invariance across days within weeks, across sex, across weeks within years, and across years. Results indicated that daily diary reports show strict measurement invariance across days, across weeks within years, across years, and across boys and girls. These results support the use of daily diary methods to assess identity at various time intervals ranging from days to years and across sex. Results are discussed with regard to future implications to study identity processes, both on smaller and larger time intervals.

DOI:  10.1037/pas0000204

Becht, A.I., Prinzie, P., Dekovic, M., van den Akker, A.L. & Shiner, R.L. (2016).
Child personality facets and overreactive parenting as predictors of aggression and rule-breaking trajectories from childhood to adolescence.
Development and Psychopathology, 28, 399-413.

This study examined trajectories of aggression and rule breaking during the transition from childhood to adolescence (ages 9-15), and determined whether these trajectories were predicted by lower order personality facets, overreactive parenting, and their interaction. At three time points separated by 2-year intervals, mothers and fathers reported on their children’s aggression and rule breaking (N = 290, M age = 8.8 years at Time 1). At Time 1, parents reported on their children’s personality traits and their own overreactivity. Growth mixture modeling identified three aggression trajectories (low decreasing, high decreasing, and high increasing) and two rule-breaking trajectories (low and high). Lower optimism and compliance and higher energy predicted trajectories for both aggression and rule breaking, whereas higher expressiveness and irritability and lower orderliness and perseverance were unique risk factors for increasing aggression into adolescence. Lower concentration was a unique risk factor for increasing rule breaking. Parental overreactivity predicted higher trajectories of aggression but not rule breaking. Only two Trait × Overreactivity interactions were found. Our results indicate that personality facets could differentiate children at risk for different developmental trajectories of aggression and rule breaking.

DOI:   10.1017/S0954579415000577