In this study, researchers at Harvard University found that adolescents may not benefit from high stakes to the same degree adults do—a behavioral profile that may be constrained by ongoing maturation of corticostriatal connectivity. The researchers of this study propose that late development of corticostriatal connectivity sets the stage for optimal goal-directed behavior. used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which measures brain activity by detecting changes linked to blood flow. Lead researcher Katie Insel said older adolescents were able to boost their performance when the stakes were high. However, younger adolescents performed similarly for low and high stakes outcomes.
Insel, C., Kastman, E. K., Glenn, C. R., & Somerville, L. H. (2017). Development of corticostriatal connectivity constrains goal-directed behavior during adolescence. Nature Communications, 8(1605). https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-01369-8