Diane L Santesso and Sidney J Segalowitz (2008)
Developmental differences in error-related ERPs in middle- to late-adolescent males
Developmental Psychology, 44(1):205-217.
Although there are some studies documenting structural brain changes during late adolescence, there are few showing functional brain changes over this period in humans. Of special interest would be functional changes in the medial frontal cortex that reflect response monitoring. In order to examine such age-related differences, the authors analyzed event-related potentials following errors in a visual flanker task and a go/no-go task in adolescent males, 15-16 and 18-20 years old. Response times and accuracy were comparable between groups on each task, but the younger group made more go/no-go errors, suggesting this task was more difficult. Error-related negativity, thought to be generated in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), had greater amplitude for the older adolescents on both tasks; thus the increased errors are not simply due to performance level differences. Results from this study suggest that the ACC, which supports response monitoring, is late to mature due to age-related structural or neurochemical changes.