Social experience calibrates neural sensitivity to social feedback during adolescence: A functional connectivity approach

Karen D. Rudolph, Megan M. Davis, Haley V. Skymba, Haina H. Modi, Eva H. Telzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The adaptive calibration model suggests exposure to highly stressful or highly supportive early environments sensitizes the brain to later environmental input. We examined whether family and peer experiences predict neural sensitivity to social cues in 85 adolescent girls who completed a social feedback task during a functional brain scan and an interview assessing adversity. Whole-brain functional connectivity (FC) analyses revealed curvilinear associations between social experiences and FC between the ventral striatum and regions involved in emotion valuation, social cognition, and salience detection (e.g., insula, MPFC, dACC, dlPFC) during social reward processing, such that stronger FC was found at both very high and very low levels of adversity. Moreover, exposure to adversity predicted stronger FC between the amygdala and regions involved in salience detection, social cognition, and emotional memory (e.g., sgACC, precuneus, lingual gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus) during social threat processing. Analyses also revealed some evidence for blunted FC (VS-PCC for reward; amygdala-parahippocampal gyrus for threat) at very high and low levels of adversity. Overall, results suggest social experiences may play a critical role in shaping neural sensitivity to social feedback during adolescence. Future work will need to elucidate the implications of these patterns of neural function for the development of psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100903
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Adolescence
  • Amygdala
  • Family adversity
  • Functional connectivity
  • Peer adversity
  • Ventral striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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