Monique Ernst, MD, PhD
Medical Advisory and Principal Investigator
National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
Host: Amit Etkin
Choreography implies an harmonious combination of changes in objects, or parts of objects, across time and space, which obey a predetermined organization and synchronization, but which leaves room for serendipity. This is a great analogy to what happens during development of brain circuits. In this talk, I will consider a neural systems model of motivated behavior, the triadic model, that was initially proposed as a heuristic tool to understand the emergence of the unique typical adolescent behaviors. This adolescent phenotype, including particularly the increase in risk-taking, emotional intensity and emotional lability, has attracted much research because of its potentially disastrous consequences. The triadic model isolates three fundamental neural systems that are engaged in every motivated behavior, in different degrees, the approach, avoidance and cognitive (control) systems. I will describe the dynamic developmental changes across these neural systems with age, reviewing findings from developmental studies. How these changes could go awry and lead to behavioral and mental problems will become clear. This model remains simplistic and needs to be refined to accommodate new findings on the architecture and functional characteristics of the triadic systems, and to provide flexibility to support the huge interindividual variability in behavioral outcomes of adolescence.
 Monique Ernst, Julie L. Fudge. A developmental neurobiological model of motivated behavior: Anatomy, connectivity and ontogeny of the triadic nodes. (2009) Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Volume 33, Issue 3, March 2009, pp. 367-382. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2008.10.009
 Monique Ernst, Brenda Benson, Eric Artiges, Adam X. Gorka, , Herve Lemaitre, Tiffany Lago, Ruben Miranda, Tobias Banaschewski, Arun L.W. Bokde, Uli Bromberg, Rüdiger Brühl, Christian Büchel, Anna Cattrell, Patricia Conrod, Sylvane Desrivières, Tahmine Fadai, Herta Flor, Antoine Grigis, Juergen Gallinat, Hugh Garavan, Penny Gowland, Yvonne Grimmer. Pubertal maturation and Sex effects on the Default-Mode Network Connectivity Implicated in Mood Dysregulation. Translational Psychiatry (in press)