Frontostriatal development and probabilistic reinforcement learning during adolescence

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Abstract

Adolescence has traditionally been viewed as a period of vulnerability to increased risk-taking and adverse outcomes, which have been linked to neurobiological maturation of the frontostriatal reward system. However, growing research on the role of developmental changes in the adolescent frontostriatal system in facilitating learning will provide a more nuanced view of adolescence. In this review, we discuss the implications of existing research on this topic for learning during adolescence, and suggest that the very neural changes that render adolescents vulnerable to social pressure and risky decision making may also stand to play a role in scaffolding the ability to learn from rewards and from performance-related feedback.

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