News Archive

September 2008: New article on neural correlates of feedback learning recently appeared in Journal of Neuroscience.

New article on neural correlates of feedback learning recently appeared in Journal of Neuroscience.

Anna van Duijvenvoorde has published her master’s thesis, which she completed last year in the Brain and Development Lab, in the Journal of Neuroscience. Anna already received two awards for this work. She won the award for best thesis in the psychology department and her thesis was ranked third best from all disciplines at the University of Amsterdam.

Abstract of this study:
Evaluating the negative or valuing the positive? Neural mechanisms supporting feedback-based learning across development

How children learn from positive and negative performance feedback lies at the foundation of successful learning and is therefore of great importance for educational practice. In this study, we used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to examine the neural developmental changes related to feedback-based learning when performing a rule search and application task. Behavioral results from three age groups (8-9, 11-13, and 18-25 years) demonstrated that, compared to adults, 8-9-year-old children performed disproportionally more inaccurately after receiving negative feedback relative to positive feedback. Additionally, imaging data pointed toward a qualitative difference in how children and adults use performance feedback. That is, dorsolateral (DL) prefrontal cortex (PFC) and superior parietal cortex were more active after negative feedback for adults, but after positive feedback for children (8-9). For 11-13-year-olds these regions did not show differential feedback sensitivity, suggesting that the transition occurs around this age. Pre-Supplementary Motor Area (SMA) / Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC), in contrast, was more active after negative feedback in both 11-13-year-olds and adults, but not 8-9-year-olds. Together, the current data show that cognitive control areas are differentially engaged during feedback-based learning across development. Adults engage these regions after signals of response adjustment (i.e. negative feedback) Young children engage these regions after signals of response continuation (i.e. positive feedback). The neural activation patterns found in 11-13-year-olds indicate a transition around this age toward an increased influence of negative feedback on performance adjustment. This is the first developmental fMRI study to compare qualitative changes in brain activation during feedback-learning across distinct stages of development.

Van Duijvenvoorde, A., Zanolie. K. Rombouts, S. A. R. B., Raijmakers, M., & Crone, E. A. (2008). Valuing the positive of adjusting the negative? A neurocognitive analysis of feedback-based learning. Journal of Neuroscience, 28, 9495-9503.