A unique adolescent response to reward prediction errors


Previous work has shown that human adolescents may be hypersensitive to rewards, but it is not known which aspect of reward processing is responsible for this. We separated decision value and prediction error signals and found that neural prediction error signals in the striatum peaked in adolescence, whereas neural decision value signals varied depending on how value was modeled. This suggests that heightened dopaminergic prediction error responsivity contributes to adolescent reward seeking.

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Figure 1: Experimental design.
Figure 2: fMRI results.


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This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (5R24 MH072697), the National Institute of Drug Abuse (5F31 DA024534), the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Della Martin Foundation.

Author information




J.R.C. helped design the experiments, conducted data acquisition and analyses, and wrote the manuscript. R.F.A., R.M.B. and S.Y.B. designed the experiments. F.W.S. contributed to data acquisition. B.J.K. and R.A.P. designed the experiments and helped write the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jessica R Cohen.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1–9, Supplementary Tables 1–5 and Supplementary Methods (PDF 3051 kb)

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Cohen, J., Asarnow, R., Sabb, F. et al. A unique adolescent response to reward prediction errors. Nat Neurosci 13, 669–671 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2558

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