Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development

Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development

Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development

Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development

Synopsis

The main purpose of this monograph is to bring together in one place the lastest observations, data, and concepts from the developmental branches of psychoanalysis and neurobiology. For researchers and students in both disciplines.

Excerpt

Over the past two decades, a diverse group of disciplines have suddenly and simultaneously intensified their attention on the scientific study of internal processes. The nature of the covert mechanisms that underlie overt behaviors were, for much of this century, deemed to be outside the domain of prevailing psychological models and existing research methodologies. The remarkable productivity of investigations of various cognitive operations has demonstrated the accessibility of internal processes to both qualitative and quantitative analyses, and has legitimized a shift from the formal study of the exterior and observable to the interior and hidden, yet substantive, aspects of human functioning. Even more recently, a sudden surge of multidisciplinary activity, at quite different levels of analysis, has initiated a deeper exploration into another class of internal processes, that of emotional states.

This acceleration of research into affective phenomena has been paralleled by an explosion in the number of studies of early human structural and functional development. Developmental neuroscience is now delving not only into early cognitive and memorial processes, but also into the ontogeny of hierarchically organized brain systems that evolve to support the psychobiological underpinnings of socioemotional functioning. Studies of the infant brain demonstrate that its development occurs in stages over critical periods, and that its maturation is influenced by the environment and is experience dependent. Concurrent developmental psychological research dramatically emphasizes that the infant's emerging socioaffective functions are fundamentally influenced by the dyadic transactions the child has with the primary caregiver. In these fast acting, "hidden" communications, the mother senses and modulates the nonverbal and affective expressions of her infant's psychobiological states. In other words, the . . .

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