Adolescent Decision Making

Adolescents are most often described as being reward seeking. However, adolescence is also a period in life where one has to flexibly adjust and adapt one’s beliefs. Thus, we studied the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive flexibility by means of reward prediction errors and computational modelling. We found that adolescents had an increased learning from negative prediction errors. We furthermore associated these differences with increased responses to prediction errors in the anterior insula in adolescents.

Hauser TU, Iannaccone R, Walitza S, Brandeis D & Brem S (2015). Cognitive flexibility in adolescence: Neural and behavioral mechanisms of reward prediction error processing in adaptive decision making during development. NeuroImage 104: 347-354.