Adolescence is a time of increased risk-taking. Models of adolescent risk-taking have considered the role of an adolescent-specific organization of brain circuitry. These models have been critiqued for a lack of consideration of biopsychosocial context alongside brain development, a limited view of the role for self-control in risk-taking, and a lack of consideration of between-person differences. Three studies were undertaken to address critiques of adolescent risk-taking models. Study 1 examined age-varying associations between sensation-seeking and cigarette smoking through adolescence into adulthood. Study 2 examined the behavior and blood-oxygen-level dependent activity in cognitive control and incentive processing regions of children, adolescents, and adults during an incentivized task to examine the sensitivity of sensation-seekers' cognitive control to incentives. Study 3 examined connectivity among three cognitive control brain networks during resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Findings indicate that the positive association between sensation-seeking and cigarette-smoking is particularly strong during adolescence relative to adulthood. In addition, sensation-seekers' resting state networks are characterized by connectivity patterns associated with cognitive control limitations. These potential limitations in cognitive control, however, may be context-specific, with sensation-seekers' cognitive control improving when incentives are available.
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