Longitudinal neural and behavioral trajectories of charity contributions across adolescence

Jochem Spaans, Sabine Peters, Andrik Becht, Renske van der Cruijsen, Suzanne van de Groep, Eveline Crone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examined the development of prosocial charity donations and neural activity in the ventral striatum when gaining rewards for self and for charity. Participants 10–22 years (95% European heritage) participated in three annual behavioral-fMRI waves (T1: n = 160, T2: n = 167, T3: n = 175). Behaviorally, donations to charity as measured with an economic Dictator Game increased with age. Perspective taking also increased with age. In contrast, self-gain and charity-gain enjoyment decreased with age. Ventral striatum activity was higher for rewards for self than for charity, but this difference decreased during adolescence. Latent growth curve models revealed that higher donations were associated with a smaller difference between ventral striatum activation for self and charity. These findings show longitudinal brain–donations associations in adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-495
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number2
Early online date28 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO‐VICI 453–14‐001 E.A.C.). E.A.C. was supported by an innovative ideas grant of the European Research Council (ERC CoG PROSOCIAL 681632 to E.A.C.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Research on Adolescence published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Research on Adolescence.

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