Distinct and similar patterns of emotional development in adolescents and young adults [post]

Dienke J. Bos, Michael Dreyfuss, Nim Tottenham, Todd Hare, Adriana Galván, BJ Casey, Rebecca Merrill Jones
2019 unpublished
Adolescence represents a time of significant change in emotional processes. To what extent these changes in emotional processes are similar or distinct in adolescents relative to young adults remains largely unknown. The current study tested whether variation in reaction times to emotional stimuli could distinguish between different phases of emotional development. Ex-Gaussian parameters mu, sigma and tau were computed, in addition to mean, median and standard deviation (SD) in reaction times
more » ... in reaction times (RT) during an emotional go/nogo-paradigm with fearful, happy and calm facial expressions in 377 participants, 6 to 30 years of age. Mean RT showed consistent slowing to fearful expressions relative to both calm and positive cues across development, but mu revealed that this pattern was more specific to adolescence. In contrast, increased variability to fearful expressions relative to both happy and calm ones was captured by SD and tau and specific to young adulthood. The findings suggest that in adolescents and young adults response speed and variability are differentially modulated by negative emotional information, possibly reflecting distinct phases of the development of emotional processing. Understanding age specific changes in negative emotional processes ultimately may inform our understanding of the emergence of different psychopathologies in adolescence and in early adulthood.
doi:10.31234/osf.io/s98mh fatcat:gwkmy3ofwjgqpeaajreni23wsy