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The child brain computes and utilizes internalized maternal choices
Lim S.-L., Cherry J.B.C., Davis A.M., Balakrishnan S.N., Ha O.-R., Bruce J.M., Bruce A.S.
Published in Nature Publishing Group
PMID: 27218420
Volume: 7
As children grow, they gradually learn how to make decisions independently. However, decisions like choosing healthy but less-tasty foods can be challenging for children whose self-regulation and executive cognitive functions are still maturing. We propose a computational decision-making process in which children estimate their motherâ €™ s choices for them as well as their individual food preferences. By employing functional magnetic resonance imaging during real food choices, we find that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) encodes childrenâ €™ s own preferences and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) encodes the projected momâ €™ s choices for them at the time of childrenâ €™ s choice. Also, the left dlPFC region shows an inhibitory functional connectivity with the vmPFC at the time of childrenâ €™ s own choice. Our study suggests that in part, children utilize their perceived caregiverâ €™ s choices when making choices for themselves, which may serve as an external regulator of decision-making, leading to optimal healthy decisions.
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Published in Nature Publishing Group
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