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    Social perspective taking is associated with self-reported prosocial behavior and regional cortical thickness across adolescence

    Tamnes, C.K. and Overbye, K. and Ferschmann, L. and Fjell, A.M. and Walhovd, K.B. and Blakemore, S.-J. and Dumontheil, Iroise (2018) Social perspective taking is associated with self-reported prosocial behavior and regional cortical thickness across adolescence. Developmental Psychology 54 (9), pp. 1745-1757. ISSN 0012-1649.

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    Basic perspective taking and mentalising abilities develop in childhood, but recent studies indicate that the use of social perspective taking to guide decisions and actions has a prolonged development that continues throughout adolescence. Here, we aimed to replicate this research and investigate the hypotheses that individual differences in social perspective taking in adolescence are associated with real-life prosocial and antisocial behavior and differences in brain structure. We employed an experimental approach and a large cross-sectional sample (n=293) of participants aged 7-26 years old to assess age-related improvement in social perspective taking usage during performance of a version of the Director task. In subsamples, we then tested how individual differences in social perspective taking were related to self-reported prosocial behavior and peer relationship problems on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) (n=184) and to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of regional cortical thickness and surface area (n=226). The pattern of results in the Director task replicated previous findings by demonstrating continued improvement in use of social perspective taking across adolescence. The study also showed that better social perspective taking usage is associated with more self-reported prosocial behavior, as well as to thinner cerebral cortex in regions in the left hemisphere encompassing parts of the caudal middle frontal and precentral gyri and lateral parietal regions. These associations were observed independently of age, and might partly reflect individual developmental variability. The relevance of cortical development was additionally supported by indirect effects of age on social perspective taking usage via cortical thickness.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association 2018. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at the DOI cited above.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Iroise Dumontheil
    Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2018 08:32
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:41


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