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WN@TL: Mixed Emotions – A Peek into the Emotional World of Infants
July 11, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
Speaker: Elizabeth Planalp, Ph.D.
Infants learn to navigate the world through repeated interactions with caregivers and their environment. The first two years of life are pivotal in terms of early brain and behavioral development and early life experiences can have long-term effects on physical and psychological flourishing. Initially, infants rely on caregivers to guide their emotional and regulatory responses, yet even as early as six months of age they begin to learn to regulate such responses themselves. I will discuss a series of studies which elucidate potential mechanisms in the development of infant emotional and regulatory development. First, emotion regulation can be a mediator linking early experiences with later child outcomes. I will discuss the role parents have on emerging regulatory capacities as well as potential neural mechanisms at play. Finally, positive affect, an often-neglected component of emotion research, is also a developmental construct emerging early in infancy. Results from each of these sections reveal complex processes underlying emotional development in infancy and early childhood.
Dr. Planalp’s work investigates developmental trajectories of individual differences in infant and early childhood emotional expression and regulation. She applies family systems theories to examine how infants and young children express and regulate their emotions as well as how the family environment impacts children’s emotional development. Further, she is interested in probing differences between mothers’ and fathers’ interactions with their infants. Using advanced statistical and neuroimaging techniques, her work spans developmental, clinical, and neuro/affective areas of psychology and human development.