Contributions of Reward Sensitivity to Ventral Striatum Activity Across Adolescence and Early Adulthood

Elisabeth Schreuders, Barbara R. Braams, Neeltje E. Blankenstein, Jiska S. Peper, Berna Güroğlu, Eveline A. Crone

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It was examined how ventral striatum responses to rewards develop across adolescence and early adulthood and how individual differences in state- and trait-level reward sensitivity are related to these changes. Participants (aged 8–29 years) were tested across three waves separated by 2 years (693 functional MRI scans) in an accelerated longitudinal design. The results confirmed an adolescent peak in reward-related ventral striatum, specifically nucleus accumbens, activity. In early to mid-adolescence, increases in reward activation were related to trait-level reward drive. In mid-adolescence to early adulthood decreases in reward activation were related to decreases in state-level hedonic reward pleasure. This study demonstrates that state- and trait-level reward sensitivity account for reward-related ventral striatum activity in different phases of adolescence and early adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-810
Number of pages14
JournalChild Development
Issue number3
Early online date13 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


The authors thank Anna van Duijvenvoorde, Babette Lange-veld, Batsheva Mannheim, Bianca Westhoff, Cédric Koolschijn, Dianne van der Heide, Erik de Water, Jochem Spaans, Jorien van Hoorn, Kiki Zanolie, Kyra Lubbers, Laura van der Aar, Mara van der Meulen, Marije Stolte, Rosa Meuwese, Sabine Peters, Sandy Overgaauw, and Suzanne van der Groep for their support during data collection. This work was supported by a European Research Council (ERC) starting grant awarded to Eveline A. Crone (ERC-2010-StG-263234), and two VENI grants from the Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO) awarded to Jiska S. Peper (NWO-VENI 451-10-007) and Berna Gurog≥lu (NWO-VENI 451-10-021).

FundersFunder number
Netherlands Science FoundationNWO-VENI 451-10-007, NWO-VENI 451-10-021
Seventh Framework Programme263234
European Research Council


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