Adaptive social learning in typical and atypical developing adolescents 2016-2019


Teacher data was collected from schools and used to assess study eligibility and provide information about the participants' emotions and behaviour. Parent data (opt in consent was obtained for participation and data sharing) were predominantly collected via post, with some collected in person at school or home visit. The questionnaires provided demographic information about the participants (social economic status and ethnicity), information about about the family and parenting practices, as well as information about the participants emotions and behaviour. Child data (assent for participation; questionnaires; IQ test; social learning computer tasks) were predominantly collected at school during the research session. Occasionally, a home visit was arranged where a school visit was not possible.Adolescents with conduct problems (CP) present severe behavioural problems and have difficulties in adjusting to social norms. Children and adolescents with CP appear to process social information in an atypical way. Hostile attribution biases, lack of empathy, and both under- and over-reactivity to emotional facial expressions have been observed in this population. Although the social information processing profiles of children and adolescents with CP may appear atypical when compared with peers of the same age, it is conceivable that their cognitive/affective profiles match life histories that have set strong priors, which hamper adaptive social learning. In other words, compared with the mainstream population, children and adolescents with CP may have adapted to different social environments (more chaotic and unpredictable, with untrustworthy adults) and whilst their social learning appears maladaptive to the society at large, it may match the environment in which they grew up. It is also of note that children and adolescents with CP are a heterogeneous population, with some seemingly fearless and lacking in empathy (those with high callous-unemotional traits; high-CU) and others very emotionally labile (those with low callous-unemotional traits; low-CU). Such traits may further constrain individual social learning during development. In short, it is not clear how the seeming disregard for social norms may constrain further social learning in individuals with CP. It is also unclear to what extent childhood environment and child specific traits account for social learning patterns of CP adolescents. The current study has been set up to investigate these questions.

Adolescent boys meeting research diagnosis of conduct problems (CP) and typically developing (TD) boys were recruited and screened via existing school contacts. All participants were aged 11-16. Of those tested, 21 children with CP and 8 TD children have consented to publicly sharing their data. We also measured callous-unemotional (CU) traits that have been shown to relate to differences in social preferences of children with CP. As CP are more common in boys and some studies suggest that aetiology of both CP and CU may differ for boys and girls, we used a boys-only sample. Inclusion criteria are IQ over 70, no neurological insult or history of psychotic symptoms. Where available, information from multiple-raters (i.e. parents and teachers) was collected. During the two-hour testing sessions with the participants, we collected standard measurements of CP, CU traits, other psychopathology from parents and teachers. Additional measurements of parenting and family environment were also collected from parents. The participants themselves completed measures of alcohol/substance use, IQ, puberty, SES, empathy, perspective taking, admiration and rivalry, parental bonding, status and alexithymia. They also completed numerous social decision-making tasks on a computer. The full list and references for the questionnaire measures and computer tasks can be found in the Measure Overview spreadsheet. Participants were given a voucher for their participation ranging from £5-£7 based on their performance, parents were given a £20 voucher for completing their questionnaire and schools were given a small honorarium for taking part too.

Metadata Access
Creator Viding, E, University College London
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2019
Funding Reference Economic and Social Research Council
Rights Essi Viding, University College London; The Data Collection is available for download to users registered with the UK Data Service.
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Numeric; Software
Discipline Psychology; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage London, Newcastle, Slough, Essex, Kent; United Kingdom