October 27, 2020

The neurodevelopment of delay discounting for monetary rewards in pre-adolescent children

Children are found to exhibit high degrees of delay discounting compared with adults in many delay discounting studies. However, the temporal dynamics of the differences behind the behaviors are not well known. In this study, we chose two age groups of participants and adopted event-related potential (ERP) techniques to investigate the neural dynamic differences between children and adults during delay discounting processes. Behavioral findings showed that children discounted more than adults and chose more immediate choices. Electrophysiological findings revealed that children exhibited longer neural processing (longer P2 latency) than adults during the early detection and identification phase. Children showed less cognitive control (smaller N2 amplitude) than adults over the middle frontal areas, and they devoted more neural effort (larger P3 amplitudes) to making final choices than adults. The factors of reward amount and time delay could influence the development of delay discounting in male children.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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