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Distinct and similar patterns of emotional development in adolescents and young adults


Bos, Dienke J; Dreyfuss, Michael; Tottenham, Nim; Hare, Todd A; Galván, Adriana; Casey, B J; Jones, Rebecca M (2020). Distinct and similar patterns of emotional development in adolescents and young adults. Developmental Psychobiology, 62(5):591-599.

Abstract

Adolescence is a developmental period of increased sensitivity to social emotional cues, but it is less known whether young adults demonstrate similar social emotional sensitivity. The current study tested variation in reaction times to emotional face cues during different phases of emotional development. Ex-Gaussian parameters mu, sigma, and tau were computed, in addition to mean, median and standard deviation (SD) in reaction times (RT) during an emotional go/nogo-paradigm with fearful, happy, and calm facial expressions in 377 participants, 6-30 years of age. Across development, mean RT showed slowing to fearful facial expressions relative to both calm and happy facial cues, but mu revealed that this pattern was specific to adolescence. In young adulthood, increased variability to fearful expressions relative to both happy and calm ones was captured by SD and tau. The findings that adolescents had longer response latencies to fearful faces, whereas young adults demonstrated greater response variability to fearful faces, together reflect how social emotional processing continues to evolve from adolescence into early adulthood. The findings suggest that young adulthood is also a vulnerable period for processing social emotional cues that ultimately may be important to better understand why different psychopathologies emerge in early adulthood.

Abstract

Adolescence is a developmental period of increased sensitivity to social emotional cues, but it is less known whether young adults demonstrate similar social emotional sensitivity. The current study tested variation in reaction times to emotional face cues during different phases of emotional development. Ex-Gaussian parameters mu, sigma, and tau were computed, in addition to mean, median and standard deviation (SD) in reaction times (RT) during an emotional go/nogo-paradigm with fearful, happy, and calm facial expressions in 377 participants, 6-30 years of age. Across development, mean RT showed slowing to fearful facial expressions relative to both calm and happy facial cues, but mu revealed that this pattern was specific to adolescence. In young adulthood, increased variability to fearful expressions relative to both happy and calm ones was captured by SD and tau. The findings that adolescents had longer response latencies to fearful faces, whereas young adults demonstrated greater response variability to fearful faces, together reflect how social emotional processing continues to evolve from adolescence into early adulthood. The findings suggest that young adulthood is also a vulnerable period for processing social emotional cues that ultimately may be important to better understand why different psychopathologies emerge in early adulthood.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Life Sciences > Developmental Neuroscience
Life Sciences > Developmental Biology
Life Sciences > Behavioral Neuroscience
Uncontrolled Keywords:Developmental biology, developmental neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, developmental and educational psychology
Language:English
Date:1 July 2020
Deposited On:04 Feb 2020 11:51
Last Modified:26 Jun 2020 01:04
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0012-1630
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21942
PubMed ID:31802483

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