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Teens' self-consciousness linked with specific brain, physiological responses
Date:7/1/2013

o camera in the MRI machine.

The consistency and strength of the resulting data took the researchers by surprise:

"We were concerned about whether simply being looked at was a strong enough 'social evaluation' to evoke emotional, physiological and neural responses," says Somerville. "Our findings suggest that being watched, and to some extent anticipating being watched, were sufficient to elicit self-conscious emotional responses at each level of measurement."

Specifically, participants' self-reported embarrassment, physiological arousal, and MPFC activation showed reactivity to social evaluation that seemed to converge and peak during adolescence.

Adolescent participants also showed increased functional connectivity between the MPFC and striatum, an area of the brain that mediates motivated behaviors and actions. Somerville and colleagues speculate that the MPFC-striatum pathway may be a route by which social evaluative contexts influence behavior. The link may provide an initial clue as to why teens often engage in riskier behaviors when they're with their peers.


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Contact: Scott Sleek
ssleek@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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