Developmental Effects of Incentives on Response Inhibition


  • This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 5-R01 MH080243). The authors thank Melanie Wilds-Liebman, Natalie Nawarawong, Catherine Wright, Barbara Fritz, David Montez, Meg Meachim, Heather Jack, and Alina Vaisleib for their assistance with data collection and other aspects of this study. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts.

concerning this article should be addressed to Charles Geier, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, 120 South Henderson, University Park, PA 16802. Electronic mail may be sent to


Inhibitory control and incentive processes underlie decision making, yet few studies have explicitly examined their interaction across development. Here, the effects of potential rewards and losses on inhibitory control in 64 adolescents (13- to 17-year-olds) and 42 young adults (18- to 29-year-olds) were examined using an incentivized antisaccade task. Notably, measures were implemented to minimize age-related differences in reward valuation and potentially confounding motivation effects. Incentives affected antisaccade metrics differently across the age groups. Younger adolescents generated more errors than adults on reward trials, but all groups performed well on loss trials. Adolescent saccade latencies also differed from adults across the range of reward trials. Overall, results suggest persistent immaturities in the integration of reward and inhibitory control processes across adolescence.