Neurodevelopment of the incentive network facilitates motivated behaviour from adolescence to adulthood

David Willinger, Iliana I Karipidis, Plamina Dimanova, Susanne Walitza, Silvia Brem

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

4 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to enhance motivated performance through incentives is crucial to guide and ultimately optimise the outcome of goal-directed behaviour. It remains largely unclear how motivated behaviour and performance develops particularly across adolescence. Here, we used computational fMRI to assess how response speed and its underlying neural circuitry are modulated by reward and loss in a monetary incentive delay paradigm. We demonstrate that maturational fine-tuning of functional coupling within the cortico-striatal incentive circuitry from adolescence to adulthood facilitates the ability to enhance performance selectively for higher subjective values. Additionally, during feedback, we found developmental sex differences of striatal representations of reward prediction errors in an exploratory analysis. Our findings suggest that a reduced capacity to utilise subjective value for motivated behaviour in adolescence is rooted in immature information processing in the incentive system. This indicates that the neurocircuitry for coordination of incentivised, motivated cognitive control acts as a bottleneck for behavioural adjustments in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118186
Pages (from-to)118186
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Cortex/diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Corpus Striatum/diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Human Development/physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motivation/physiology
  • Nerve Net/diagnostic imaging
  • Reward
  • Young Adult


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