[ExI] Spock, Anti-Spock

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Feb 26 00:11:55 UTC 2008


Prefrontal and amygdala volumes are related to 
adolescents' affective behaviors during parent–adolescent interactions


Adolescence is a key period for the development 
of brain circuits underlying affective and 
behavioral regulation. It remains unclear, 
however, whether and how adolescent brain 
structure influences day-to-day affective 
behavior. Because of significant changes in the 
nature of family relations that also typically 
occur during adolescence, parent–child 
interactions provide a meaningful context where 
affective behavior and its regulation may be 
assessed. In a sample of 137 early adolescents, 
we investigated the relationship between aspects 
of the adolescents' brain structure and their 
affective behavior as assessed during observation 
of parent–child interactions. We found a 
significant positive association between volume 
of the amygdala and the duration of adolescent 
aggressive behavior during these interactions. We 
also found male-specific associations between the 
volume of prefrontal structures and affective 
behavior, with decreased leftward anterior 
paralimbic cortex volume asymmetry associated 
with increased duration of aggressive behavior, 
and decreased leftward orbitofrontal cortex 
volume asymmetry associated with increased 
reciprocity of dysphoric behavior. These findings 
suggest that adolescent brain structure is 
associated with affective behavior and its 
regulation in the context of family interactions, 
and that there may be gender differences in the 
neural mechanisms underlying affective and 
behavioral regulation during early adolescence. 
Particularly as adolescence marks a period of 
rapid brain maturation, our findings have 
implications for mental health outcomes that may 
be revealed later along the developmental trajectory.

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