Coordinating Responses to Aversive Stimuli: Introduction to a Special Section on the Development of Emotion Regulation
Introduces special section and provides an overview of research on infant and child emotion regulation, beginning with consideration of emotion as a set of responses to particular stimuli, such as aversive events. Emotional responding is noted as occurring simultaneously within each of three response systems, including neurophysiological-biochemical, motor-expressive, and experiential-cognitive domains. Emotion regulation is the process through which activation in one response domain serves to alter, titrate, or modulate activation in another response domain. During the course of development, the child acquires skill not only in responding within domains, but also in coordinating and regulating responses across domains. Mechanisms of development include fortuitous learning, repetition, and active socialization by a caregiver. Individual differences can be observed in the child's capacity for regulation, and major life events can intrude on development, the latter leading to dysregulation of emotional responding.
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