Addiction, adolescence, and the integration of motivation and control
Number of pages
SourceDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 1, 4, (2011), pp. 364-376
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
SW OZ BSI OGG
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
The likelihood of initiating addictive behaviors is higher during adolescence than during any other developmental period. The differential developmental trajectories of brain regions involved in motivation and control processes may lead to adolescents’ increased risk taking in general, which may be exacerbated by the neural consequences of drug use. Neuroimaging studies suggest that increased risk-taking behavior in adolescence is related to an imbalance between prefrontal cortical regions, associated with executive functions, and subcortical brain regions related to affect and motivation. Dual-process models of addictive behaviors are similarly concerned with difficulties in controlling abnormally strong motivational processes. We acknowledge concerns raised about dual-process models, but argue that they can be addressed by carefully considering levels of description: motivational processes and top-down biasing can be understood as intertwined, co-developing components of more versus less reflective states of processing. We illustrate this with a model that further emphasizes temporal dynamics. Finally, behavioral interventions for addiction are discussed. Insights in the development of control and motivation may help to better understand – and more efficiently intervene in – vulnerabilities involving control and motivation.
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