Combined effects of peer presence, social cues, and rewards on cognitive control in adolescents

Kaitlyn Breiner, Anfei Li, Alexandra O. Cohen, Laurence Steinberg, Richard J. Bonnie, Elizabeth S. Scott, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Marc D. Rudolph, Jason Chein, Jennifer A. Richeson, Danielle V. Dellarco, Damien A. Fair, B. J. Casey, Adriana Galván

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Developmental scientists have examined the independent effects of peer presence, social cues, and rewards on adolescent decision-making and cognitive control. Yet, these contextual factors often co-occur in real world social situations. The current study examined the combined effects of all three factors on cognitive control, and its underlying neural circuitry, using a task to better capture adolescents' real world social interactions. A sample of 176 participants ages 13–25, was scanned while performing an adapted go/no-go task alone or in the presence of a virtual peer. The task included brief positive social cues and sustained periods of positive arousal. Adolescents showed diminished cognitive control to positive social cues when anticipating a reward in the presence of peers relative to when alone, a pattern not observed in older participants. This behavioral pattern was paralleled by enhanced orbitofrontal activation. The results demonstrate the synergistic impact of social and reward influences on cognitive control in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-302
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • adolescents
  • cognitive control
  • fMRI
  • orbitofrontal cortex
  • peers
  • reward

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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