PSYC Seminar: “Adolescent Brains in Social Contexts: Development and Implications”, Junqiang Dai, 4:30PM March 14 2024 (EN)

You are cordially invited to the Seminar organized by the Psychology Department.
Presenter: Junqiang Dai (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Title: Adolescent Brains in Social Contexts: Development and Implications

Date & Time: March 14, 2024 at 16:30

This is an online seminar. To obtain event details please send a message to department.

The presentation language will be English.

Abstract: Adolescence is an important transition period from childhood to adulthood that sets the stage for later lifelong social development and health. To unravel the complexity of adolescent development, I adopt a multimethod approach (e.g., neuroimaging, behavioral paradigms, surveys, and school-based social network analysis) to investigate how the interaction between neurobiological development, individual, and social contexts may contribute to the observed individual differences in adolescent development. In my talk, I will present three neuroimaging studies that incorporate a diverse range of methods. Study 1 elucidates that adolescent brains spontaneously encode and represent the social status of peers within adolescents’ social networks. Study 2 illustrates how the degree of neural similarity between adolescents’ representations of themselves and their peers is associated with adolescents’ susceptibility to peer influences, real-world risk-taking behaviors, and later substance use. Study 3 shows that adolescents’ brain responses to emotions are more similar to those of their closest peers within social networks. Together, this work highlights the significant individual differences in neurobiological susceptibility and neural representations of the social world, which significantly contribute to adolescent development in peer contexts. I will conclude my talk with a discussion on the future directions of my research program, aiming to address unanswered questions in the literature and advance a more holistic understanding of youth development by incorporating other aspects of social behavior and considering other social contexts in adolescent development.

Bio: Dr. Dai earned his Ph.D. degree in Developmental Psychology at Penn State University in 2021. He is currently working as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests, broad yet deeply interconnected, include adolescent social and brain development, pubertal development, social influences, and ethnic-racial identity and socialization. Dr. Dai has more than 10 years of experience in developmental neuroscience research and uses a diverse range of cutting-edge methods including neuroimaging, behavioral paradigm, Bayesian meta-analysis, school-based social network analysis, and longitudinal multilevel modeling for his interdisciplinary research. His work has been published in top-tier neuroscience and developmental journals such as American Psychologist, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Human Brain Mapping, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, and Developmental Psychology. Additionally, Dr. Dai is recognized for his expertise through his contribution as a reviewer for several prestigious journals and funding agency such as the National Science Foundation.