This is Part 1 of the talk. To view Part 2 (the Q&A), click here.
The Arnold Pfeffer Center for Neuropsychoanalysis of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute
The Neurodevelopment of Emotion Regulation and the Role of Parents
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Presenter: Nim Tottenham, Ph.D.
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.