Neuroimaging, Adolescence, and Risky Behavior

  • John C. Churchwell
  • Deborah A. Yurgelun-Todd


Neuroimaging and behavioral studies have proven to be critical in ­establishing normative developmental trajectories for brain and behavior relationships. These studies suggest that delayed maturation of neural systems during ­adolescence may lead to increased risk taking and result in negative consequences, such as substance abuse and addiction. Specifically, discontinuities in the development of prefrontal cortical functioning may foster a neural and behavioral landscape that can increase novelty seeking, lead to increased impulsive actions and choices, and set the stage for substance abuse. This chapter focuses on functional neuroimaging studies of adolescents, examines conceptual challenges related to understanding risky behavior and substance abuse within a neurobiological framework, and considers future directions, such as using neuroimaging to determine biomarkers for risk and resilience through development.


Prefrontal Cortex Response Inhibition Risky Behavior Stroop Task Delay Discount 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Utah School of MedicineSalt Lake CityUSA

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