Undervaluing future rewards explains adolescents impulsivity in intertemporal choice: results from an event-related potential study

[Speaker] Huang, Yunyun:1
[Co-author] Hu, Ping:1
1:Renmin University of China (China (People's Republic of China))

Adolescence has frequently been characterized as a period of increased impulsivity, which may be driven partly by age-related difference of reward sensitivity. In particular, adolescents may value immediate rewards more strongly or instead disregard of future rewards. To investigate this issue, we recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) from 18 adolescents and 18 adults in a gambling task, in which monetary gains and losses were either immediate or delayed. The participants also completed a temporal discounting task without ERP recording. Results showed that both groups valued immediate rewards over delayed rewards, producing larger FRN effect to the immediate as compared to the future outcomes. Besides, adolescents produced smaller FRN effect to future outcomes than did adults. Furthermore, there is a significant association between overall discounting rates and FRN amplitude to delayed outcomes. Taken together, these results suggest that adolescents' impulsivity might be driven partly by their devaluation for future rewards.
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