<p>How neural correlates of self-concept are influenced by environmental versus genetic factors is currently not fully understood. We investigated heritability estimates of behavioral and neural correlates of self-concept in middle childhood since this phase is an important time window for taking on new social roles in academic and social contexts. To do so, a validated self-concept fMRI task was applied in a twin sample of 345 participants aged between 7 and 9 years. In the self-concept condition, participants were asked to indicate whether academic and social traits applied to them whereas the control condition required trait categorization. The self-processing activation analyses (n = 234) revealed stronger medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) activation for self than for control conditions. This effect was more pronounced for social-self than academic self-traits, whereas stronger dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) activation was observed for academic versus social self-evaluations. Behavioral genetic modeling (166 complete twin pairs) revealed that 25–52% of the variation in academic self-evaluations was explained by genetic factors, whereas 16–49% of the variation in social self-evaluations was explained by shared environmental factors. Neural genetic modeling (91 complete twin pairs) for variation in mPFC and anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation for academic self-evaluations confirmed genetic and unique environmental influences, whereas anterior PFC activation for social self-evaluations was additionally influenced by shared environmental influences. This indicates that environmental context possibly has a larger impact on the behavioral and neural correlates of social self-concept at a young age. This is the first study demonstrating in a young twin sample that self-concept depends on both genetic and environmental factors, depending on the specific domain.</p>

doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25641, hdl.handle.net/1765/136208
Nature Communications
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

J.O.Z. (Job) De Jong, Ceyda Llapashtica, Matthieu Genestine, Kevin Strauss, Frank Provenzano, Yan Sun, … Sander Markx. (2021). Cortical overgrowth in a preclinical forebrain organoid model of CNTNAP2-associated autism spectrum disorder. Nature Communications, 12(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-021-24358-4