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Social seeking declines in young adolescents

Dubey, Indu; Ropar, Danielle; Hamilton, Antonia F de C.


Indu Dubey

Antonia F de C. Hamilton


The desire to engage with others is an important motivational force throughout our lifespan. It is known that social behaviour and preferences change from childhood to adulthood, but whether this change is linked with any changes in social motivation is not known. We evaluated 255 typically developing participants from ages 4–20 years on a behavioural paradigm ‘Choose a Movie’ (CAM). On every trial, participants had a choice between viewing social or non-social movies presented with different levels of effort (key presses/screen touch required). Hence, participants chose not only the movie they would watch but also how much effort they would make. The difference between the effort levels of the chosen and not chosen stimuli helps in quantifying the motivation to seek it. This task could be used with all the age groups with minimal adaptations, allowing comparison between the groups. Results showed that children (4–8 years), older adolescents (12–16 years) and young adults (17–20 years) made more effort to look at social movies. Counterintuitively, this preference was not seen in young adolescents (around 9–12 years), giving a U-shaped developmental trajectory over the population. We present the first evidence for non-monotonic developmental change in social motivation in typical participants.


Dubey, I., Ropar, D., & Hamilton, A. F. D. C. (2017). Social seeking declines in young adolescents. Royal Society Open Science, 4(8), Article 170029.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 17, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 9, 2017
Publication Date 2017-08
Deposit Date Dec 14, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 20, 2018
Journal Royal Society Open Science
Print ISSN 2054-5703
Publisher The Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 8
Article Number 170029
Public URL
Publisher URL


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