Neural Mechanisms Underlying Trust to Friends, Community Members, and Unknown Peers in Adolescence

Description: Trust plays an important role during adolescence for developing social relations. While prior developmental studies give us insight into adolescents’ development of differentiation between close (e.g., friends) and unknown (e.g., unknown peers) targets in trust choices, less is known about the development of trust to societal targets (e.g., members of a community organization), and its underlying neural mechanisms. Using a modified version of the Trust Game, our preregistered fMRI study examined the underlying neural mechanisms of trust to close (friend), societal (community member), and unknown others (unknown peer) during adolescence in 106 participants (aged 12-23). Adolescents showed most trust to friends, less trust to community members, and the least trust to unknown peers. Recruitment of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and orbitofrontal cortex was higher for closer targets (i.e., friend and community member), particularly during no trust choices for the mPFC. Trust to friends was additionally associated with increased activity in the precuneus and bilateral temporal parietal junction. In contrast, bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex were most active for trust to unknown peers. The mPFC showed consistent relations with individual differences in feeling needed/useful and age. Together, our results show that target differentiation in adolescents’ trust behavior is associated with activity in social brain networks implicated during mentalizing, reward processing, and cognitive control.

Communities: developmental

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Add DateMarch 16, 2023, 2:52 p.m.
Uploaded bySophieSweijen
Related article DOI10.1162/jocn_a_02055
Related article authorsSophie W. Sweijen, Suzanne van de Groep, Lysanne W. te Brinke, Andrew J. Fuligni and Eveline A. Crone
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