Neurodevelopmental differences to social exclusion: An event-related neural oscillation study of children, adolescents, and adults.

Although the neural correlates of social exclusion have been well-documented, most studies have examined single age groups. No studies have directly compared specific age-related differences in social exclusion across children, adolescents, and adults using event-related oscillatory electroencephalogram (EEG) dynamics. The authors examined event-related theta EEG power and phase coherence in fair play and social exclusion conditions during the Cyberball task in 166 participants: 42 children (ages 10—12), 56 adolescents (ages 14—17), and 68 adults (ages 18—28). Children and adolescents displayed the greatest theta power to rejection events, whereas adults displayed the greatest theta power to “not my turn” events. Moreover, the functional link between theta power to rejection and self-reported distress was strongest among the adolescents. These findings suggest that an enhanced neural response to social exclusion is present by preadolescence, but the association between neural and subjective responses is most prominent during adolescence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)