Pfeffer Lecture: “The Neurodevelopment of Emotion Regulation and the Role of Parents”, Nim Tottenham, Ph.D.
December Meeting of the Arnold Pfeffer Center for Neuropsychoanalysis of the New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute
The neurobiology of mature emotional processing develops slowly over childhood and adolescence. This talk will focus on the development of the human amygdala, a neural structure involved in emotional attention and learning, and the medial prefrontal cortex, which provides important signals for regulating strong emotions. Parents have a large influence on children’s emotions. Across various scientific perspectives (including ethological/attachment theories, psychoanalytic, and parenting styles), researchers and theorists have noted the special relationship between parent and child and the influence this relationship has on children’s emotional development. This talk will address how parents influence amygdala and prefrontal cortex development. I will present findings from both typically-raised children as well as in a population of children who experienced early parental deprivation in the form of orphanage care. Our findings suggest that parenting in childhood is associated with emotional functioning in adulthood because of the influence of parents on amygdala-prefrontal circuitry.
Nim Tottenham, Ph.D. is a Developmental Affective Neuroscientist researching the development of the neurobiology associated with mature emotion regulation in humans. Her research has highlighted fundamental changes in amygdala-prefrontal cortex circuitry across childhood and adolescence and the powerful role that early experiences, such as caregiving, have on the developmental trajectories of these circuits. Her research uses fMRI, behavioral, and physiological methods to examine human limbic-cortical development in children and adolescents as well as their parents. She has authored over 70 journal articles and book chapters. She is a frequent lecturer both nationally and internationally on human brain development and emotional development. She provides service to numerous scientific communities including the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, Society for Social Neuroscience, Society for Research in Child Development, and the Flux Congress. She is a recipient of the NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) Award, the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology, and the Developmental Science Early Career Researcher Prize.
Learning objectives: Participants will be able to:
1. Explain how early social environments shape brain development;
2. Describe the neurobiology of emotional processes across development;
3. Summarize how developmental timing of events matter for outcomes.
This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP required; first come, first seated. All welcome!