Functional Connectivity Predicts Individual Development of Inhibitory Control during Adolescence

Cereb Cortex. 2021 Mar 31;31(5):2686-2700. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhaa383.


Derailment of inhibitory control (IC) underlies numerous psychiatric and behavioral disorders, many of which emerge during adolescence. Identifying reliable predictive biomarkers that place the adolescents at elevated risk for future IC deficits can help guide early interventions, yet the scarcity of longitudinal research has hindered the progress. Here, using a large-scale longitudinal dataset in which the same subjects performed a stop signal task during functional magnetic resonance imaging at ages 14 and 19, we tracked their IC development individually and tried to find the brain features predicting their development by constructing prediction models using 14-year-olds' functional connections within a network or between a pair of networks. The participants had distinct between-subject trajectories in their IC development. Of the candidate connections used for prediction, ventral attention-subcortical network interconnections could predict the individual development of IC and formed a prediction model that generalized to previously unseen individuals. Furthermore, we found that connectivity between these two networks was related to substance abuse problems, an IC-deficit related problematic behavior, within 5 years. Our study reveals individual differences in IC development from mid- to late-adolescence and highlights the importance of ventral attention-subcortical network interconnections in predicting future IC development and substance abuse in adolescents.

Keywords: adolescence; functional connectivity; inhibitory control; longitudinal prediction; stop signal task.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development
  • Biological Variation, Population
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Reaction Time
  • Young Adult