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Compulsivity is linked to reduced adolescent development of goal-directed control and frontostriatal functional connectivity

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25911-25922
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number41
Published13 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.

King's Authors


A characteristic of adaptive behavior is its goal-directed nature. An ability to act in a goal-directed manner is progressively refined during development, but this refinement can be impacted by the emergence of psychiatric disorders. Disorders of compulsivity have been framed computationally as a deficit in model-based control, and have been linked also to abnormal frontostriatal connectivity. However, the developmental trajectory of model-based control, including an interplay between its maturation and an emergence of compulsivity, has not been characterized. Availing of a large sample of healthy adolescents (n = 569) aged 14 to 24 y, we show behaviorally that over the course of adolescence there is a within-person increase in model-based control, and this is more pronounced in younger participants. Using a bivariate latent change score model, we provide evidence that the presence of higher compulsivity traits is associated with an atypical profile of this developmental maturation in model-based control. Resting-state fMRI data from a subset of the behaviorally assessed subjects (n = 230) revealed that compulsivity is associated with a less pronounced change of within-subject developmental remodeling of functional connectivity, specifically between the striatum and a frontoparietal network. Thus, in an otherwise clinically healthy population sample, in early development, individual differences in compulsivity are linked to the developmental trajectory of model-based control and a remodeling of frontostriatal connectivity.

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