Pubertal changes in emotional information processing: Pupillary, behavioral, and subjective evidence during emotional word identification

Jennifer S. Silk, Greg J. Siegle, Diana J. Whalen, Laura J. Ostapenko, Cecile D. Ladouceur, Ronald E. Dahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated pupillary and behavioral responses to an emotional word valence identification paradigm among 32 pre-/early pubertal and 34 mid-/late pubertal typically developing children and adolescents. Participants were asked to identify the valence of positive, negative, and neutral words while pupil dilation was assessed using an eyetracker. Mid-/late pubertal children showed greater peak pupillary reactivity to words presented during the emotional word identification task than pre-/early pubertal children, regardless of word valence. Mid-/late pubertal children also showed smaller sustained pupil dilation than pre-/early pubertal children after the word was no longer on screen. These findings were replicated controlling for participants' age. In addition, mid-/late pubertal children had faster reaction times to all words, and rated themselves as more emotional during their laboratory visit compared to pre-/early pubertal children. Greater recall of emotional words following the task was associated with mid-/late pubertal status, and greater recall of emotional words was also associated with higher peak pupil dilation. These results provide physiological, behavioral, and subjective evidence consistent with a model of puberty-specific changes in neurobehavioral systems underpinning emotional reactivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-26
Number of pages20
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 3 2009
Externally publishedYes

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