October 2020
Volume 20, Issue 11
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   October 2020
Puberty is Associated with Amygdala Activation during Face Emotion Processing: A Label-Based Meta-analysis Review
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Junqiang Dai
    Psychology Dept. Penn state University, University Park
  • K. Suzanne Scherf
    Psychology Dept. Penn state University, University Park
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This work was supported by a grant (RO1 MH112573-01) from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to KSS (email: kss23@psu.edu).
Journal of Vision October 2020, Vol.20, 1386. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1386
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      Junqiang Dai, K. Suzanne Scherf; Puberty is Associated with Amygdala Activation during Face Emotion Processing: A Label-Based Meta-analysis Review. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1386. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1386.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Puberty is a defining feature of adolescent development. It is a biological process that begins with the release of gonadal hormones and unfolds over ~8 years leading to sexual maturation and novel behaviors. Animal models indicate that gonadal hormones induce changes in both perceptual and social behaviors as well as in the functional and structural organization of the adolescent brain. The work investigating how puberty influences adolescent brain and behavioral development in humans is only just emerging. Face processing is one of the primary domains in which researchers have investigated and found effects of puberty on behavior, reporting a pubertal dip in performance, the emergence of a peer bias in face recognition behavior, and dramatic changes in perceptual sensitivity to complex emotional expressions. Given these behavioral findings, we were interested in understanding the extent to which there is convergence in neuroimaging studies assessing the influence of pubertal development on the neural basis of face processing and other social-cognitive domains. To do so, we used a label-based meta-analytic approach to evaluate studies measuring the relation between changes in pubertal development and changes in functional brain development in four domains, including face emotion, reward, social information, and cognitive processing. We found that face emotion processing was the only domain in which there was convergence in the locus of findings. Specifically, more than 50% of studies investigating face emotion processing reported associations between pubertal development and changing functional activation in the amygdala. However, the directionality of these effects (increasing vs decreasing activation with increasing puberty) was not consistent across studies. These findings are consistent with predictions about the potential influence of puberty on amygdala-mediated responses to faces during adolescence (Scherf et al., 2012, 2013).


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