Dynamic Responses in Brain Networks to Social Feedback: A Dual EEG Acquisition Study in Adolescent Couples
Adolescence is a sensitive period for the development of romantic relationships. During this period the maturation of frontolimbic networks is particularly important for the capacity to regulate emotional experiences. In previous research, both functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and dense array electroencephalography (dEEG) measures have suggested that responses in limbic regions are enhanced in adolescents experiencing social rejection. In the present research, we examined social acceptance and rejection from romantic partners as they engaged in a Chatroom Interact Task. Dual 128-channel dEEG systems were used to record neural responses to acceptance and rejection from both adolescent romantic partners and unfamiliar peers (N = 75). We employed a two-step temporal principal component analysis (PCA) and spatial independent component analysis (ICA) approach to statistically identify the neural components related to social feedback. Results revealed that the early (288 ms) discrimination between acceptance and rejection reflected by the P3a component was significant for the romantic partner but not the unfamiliar peer. In contrast, the later (364 ms) P3b component discriminated between acceptance and rejection for both partners and peers. The two-step approach (PCA then ICA) was better able than either PCA or ICA alone in separating these components of the brain's electrical activity that reflected both temporal and spatial phases of the brain's processing of social feedback.