Developing Mechanisms of Self-Regulation in Early Life

Emotion Review 3 (2):207-213 (2011)

Abstract

Children show increasing control of emotions and behavior during their early years. Our studies suggest a shift in control from the brain’s orienting network in infancy to the executive network by the age of 3—4 years. Our longitudinal study indicates that orienting influences both positive and negative affect, as measured by parent report in infancy. At 3—4 years of age, the dominant control of affect rests in a frontal brain network that involves the anterior cingulate gyrus. Connectivity of brain structures also changes from infancy to toddlerhood. Early connectivity of parietal and frontal areas is important in orienting; later connectivity involves midfrontal and anterior cingulate areas related to executive attention and self-regulation

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