Poster E16, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Neurobiological Underpinnings of the Intersection between Emotion and Impulse Control in Adolescents
Julia E. Cohen-Gilbert1,2, Lisa D. Nickerson1,2, Jennifer T. Sneider1,2, Emily N. Oot1,3, Anna M. Seraikas1, Maya Rieselbach1, Carolyn E. Caine1, Elena R. Stein1, Sion K. Harris1,4, Marisa M. Silveri1,2; 1McLean Hospital, 2Harvard Medical School, 3Boston University School of Medicine, 4Boston Children's Hospital
Adolescence features heightened emotionality and limited impulse control. Development of prefrontal cortex (PFC) and related circuitry during this period enables gradual improvements in inhibitory control. However, emotional information frequently disrupts adolescents’ efforts to control impulsive responses. Brain activity was recorded using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a task requiring participants to ignore positive, negative, neutral or scrambled background images, while performing an inhibitory control task (Go-NoGo). Subjects were 30 healthy 13-14 year-olds (15 female). Brain activation on inhibitory (NoGo) versus non-inhibitory (Go) trials was contrasted between negative and neutral, and positive and neutral conditions. Results showed increased recruitment of multiple PFC regions during emotional versus non-emotional conditions, including inferior frontal gyrus, orbital frontal cortex and ventral medial PFC (VMPFC). VMPFC activation from the negative>neutral contrast was correlated with increased NoGo errors on negative (r=.49, p=.007) and neutral (r=.40, p=.039) trials, and parent-reported attention problems on the Child Behavior Checklist (r=.50, p=.005). VMPFC activation from the positive>neutral contrast was correlated with increased NoGo errors on positive trials (r=.38, p=.041). Contrasts of NoGo>Go for neutral and scrambled backgrounds revealed extensive deactivation in the default mode network (DMN), including VMPFC, amygdala and hippocampus. DMN deactivation during response inhibition was not evident in emotional background conditions. This suggests that emotional images reduce inhibitory control, in part, by eliciting self-referential emotional processing and reducing DMN deactivation, with VMPFC deactivation supporting inhibitory control across emotional conditions. These findings elucidate neural mechanisms underlying increased impulsive, often risky behaviors that can occur under emotional conditions during adolescence.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions