The transition period between early childhood and late adolescence is characterized by pronounced changes in social competence, or the capacity for flexible social adaptation. Here, we propose that two processes, self-control and prosociality, are crucial for social adaptation following social evaluation. We present a neurobehavioral model showing commonalities in neural responses to experiences of social acceptance and rejection, and multiple pathways for responding to social context. The Leiden Consortium on Individual Development (L-CID) provides a comprehensive approach towards understanding the longitudinal developmental pathways of, and social enrichment effects on, social competence, taking into account potential differential effects of such enrichment. Using Neurosynth based brain maps we point towards the medial prefrontal cortex as an important region integrating social cognition, self-referential processing and self-control for learning to respond flexibly to changing social contexts. Based on their role in social evaluation processing, we suggest to examine medial prefrontal cortex connections with lateral prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum as potential neural differential susceptibility markers, in addition to previously established markers of differential susceptibility.
Keywords: Brain development; Cognitive control; Differential susceptibility; Prosocial; Self regulation.
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