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Serotonergic contribution to boys' behavioral regulation.

Nantel-Vivier A, Pihl RO, Young SN, Parent S, Bélanger SA, Sutton R, Dubois ME, Tremblay RE, Séguin JR - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: However, boys in the tryptophan group adjusted their level of responding optimally as a function of the level of provocation, whereas boys in the control group significantly decreased their level of responding towards the end of the competition.Boys in the tryptophan group tended to show greater perspective taking, tended to better distinguish facial expressions of fear and happiness, and tended to provide greater instrumental help to the experimenter.The present study provides initial evidence for the feasibility of acute tryptophan supplementation in children and some effect of tryptophan supplementation on children's behaviors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Psychology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: Animal and human adult studies reveal a contribution of serotonin to behavior regulation. Whether these findings apply to children is unclear. The present study investigated serotonergic functioning in boys with a history of behavior regulation difficulties through a double-blind, acute tryptophan supplementation procedure.

Method: Participants were 23 boys (age 10 years) with a history of elevated physical aggression, recruited from a community sample. Eleven were given a chocolate milkshake supplemented with 500 mg tryptophan, and 12 received a chocolate milkshake without tryptophan. Boys engaged in a competitive reaction time game against a fictitious opponent, which assessed response to provocation, impulsivity, perspective taking, and sharing. Impulsivity was further assessed through a Go/No-Go paradigm. A computerized emotion recognition task and a staged instrumental help incident were also administered.

Results: Boys, regardless of group, responded similarly to high provocation by the fictitious opponent. However, boys in the tryptophan group adjusted their level of responding optimally as a function of the level of provocation, whereas boys in the control group significantly decreased their level of responding towards the end of the competition. Boys in the tryptophan group tended to show greater perspective taking, tended to better distinguish facial expressions of fear and happiness, and tended to provide greater instrumental help to the experimenter.

Conclusions: The present study provides initial evidence for the feasibility of acute tryptophan supplementation in children and some effect of tryptophan supplementation on children's behaviors. Further studies are warranted to explore the potential impact of increased serotonergic functioning on boys' dominant and affiliative behaviors.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Reaction to the lost ring incident.a Fisher's exact test (p = 0.07). b Fisher's exact test (p = 0.68). c Fisher's exact test (p = 0.07). d Fisher's exact test (p = 0.40).
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pone-0020304-g004: Reaction to the lost ring incident.a Fisher's exact test (p = 0.07). b Fisher's exact test (p = 0.68). c Fisher's exact test (p = 0.07). d Fisher's exact test (p = 0.40).

Mentions: As shown in Figure 4, more children in the control group tended to verbally expressed concern regarding the lost ring (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.07), while children in the tryptophan group tended to be more likely to visually scan the room in search of the ring (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.07). No further trends were noted.


Serotonergic contribution to boys' behavioral regulation.

Nantel-Vivier A, Pihl RO, Young SN, Parent S, Bélanger SA, Sutton R, Dubois ME, Tremblay RE, Séguin JR - PLoS ONE (2011)

Reaction to the lost ring incident.a Fisher's exact test (p = 0.07). b Fisher's exact test (p = 0.68). c Fisher's exact test (p = 0.07). d Fisher's exact test (p = 0.40).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3105989&req=5

pone-0020304-g004: Reaction to the lost ring incident.a Fisher's exact test (p = 0.07). b Fisher's exact test (p = 0.68). c Fisher's exact test (p = 0.07). d Fisher's exact test (p = 0.40).
Mentions: As shown in Figure 4, more children in the control group tended to verbally expressed concern regarding the lost ring (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.07), while children in the tryptophan group tended to be more likely to visually scan the room in search of the ring (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.07). No further trends were noted.

Bottom Line: However, boys in the tryptophan group adjusted their level of responding optimally as a function of the level of provocation, whereas boys in the control group significantly decreased their level of responding towards the end of the competition.Boys in the tryptophan group tended to show greater perspective taking, tended to better distinguish facial expressions of fear and happiness, and tended to provide greater instrumental help to the experimenter.The present study provides initial evidence for the feasibility of acute tryptophan supplementation in children and some effect of tryptophan supplementation on children's behaviors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Psychology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: Animal and human adult studies reveal a contribution of serotonin to behavior regulation. Whether these findings apply to children is unclear. The present study investigated serotonergic functioning in boys with a history of behavior regulation difficulties through a double-blind, acute tryptophan supplementation procedure.

Method: Participants were 23 boys (age 10 years) with a history of elevated physical aggression, recruited from a community sample. Eleven were given a chocolate milkshake supplemented with 500 mg tryptophan, and 12 received a chocolate milkshake without tryptophan. Boys engaged in a competitive reaction time game against a fictitious opponent, which assessed response to provocation, impulsivity, perspective taking, and sharing. Impulsivity was further assessed through a Go/No-Go paradigm. A computerized emotion recognition task and a staged instrumental help incident were also administered.

Results: Boys, regardless of group, responded similarly to high provocation by the fictitious opponent. However, boys in the tryptophan group adjusted their level of responding optimally as a function of the level of provocation, whereas boys in the control group significantly decreased their level of responding towards the end of the competition. Boys in the tryptophan group tended to show greater perspective taking, tended to better distinguish facial expressions of fear and happiness, and tended to provide greater instrumental help to the experimenter.

Conclusions: The present study provides initial evidence for the feasibility of acute tryptophan supplementation in children and some effect of tryptophan supplementation on children's behaviors. Further studies are warranted to explore the potential impact of increased serotonergic functioning on boys' dominant and affiliative behaviors.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus