Temporal discounting for self and friends in adolescence: A fMRI study

Suzanne van de Groep*, Sophie W. Sweijen, Erik de Water, Eveline A. Crone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Adolescence is characterized by impulsivity but also by increased importance of friendships. This study took the novel perspective of testing temporal discounting in a fMRI task where choices could affect outcomes for 96 adolescents (aged 10–20-years) themselves and their best friend. Decisions either benefitted themselves (i.e., the Self Immediate – Self Delay’ condition) or their friend (i.e., ‘Friend Immediate – Friend Delay’ condition); or juxtaposed rewards for themselves and their friends (i.e., the ‘Self Immediate – Friend Delay’ or ‘Friend Immediate – Self Delay’ conditions). We observed that younger adolescents were more impulsive; and all participants were more impulsive when this was associated with an immediate benefit for friends. Individual differences analyses revealed increased activity in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex extending in the ventral striatum for immediate relative to delayed reward choices for self. Temporal choices were associated with activity in the prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, insula, and ventral striatum, but only activity in the right inferior parietal lobe was associated with age. Finally, temporal delay choices for friends relative to self were associated with increased activity in the temporo-parietal junction and precuneus. Overall, this study shows a unique role of the social context in adolescents’ temporal decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101204
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by an innovative ideas grant of the European Research Council (ERC CoG PROSOCIAL 681632 to E.A.C.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors

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