This book marks the beginning of a new series growing out of the activities of The Center for the Study of Child and Adolescent Development at The Pennsylvania State University. In a sense, this volume provides a scholarly tribute to the vision of Dean Evan G. Pattishall, Jr. He recognized the large body of individuals interested in developmental processes spread across the Penn State campus and suggested the formation of a Center that would act to coalesce that group for their benefit and, in so doing, bring about the formation of a nucleus of individuals who might have a significant impact on our understanding of the developmental processes. Thus, in 1984, the Center came into being. Richard Lerner was appointed as director and I accepted the position as associate director. Among the many activities we initiated as a part of achieving the goals we set for the Center was the initiation of a series of conferences that focus on the most important developing ideas in the field.
As the first meeting of our Advisory Board, convened for the purposes of guiding the early activities of the Center, we discussed our conference plans and Jerry Kagan indicated that he had been thinking of a conference concerned with the physiology and psychology of stress. The idea had several attractive features. First, the focus of the conference had obvious developmental implications that had received little attention from those working in these areas. Second, the problem was interdisciplinary, a natural aspect of our conception of the Center. Thus, with Jerry's help we selected and invited an outstanding group of researchers drawn from those who have approached the problem from the physiological and/or the psychological side of the issue. We asked them to discuss the relations between the biological stress circuits -- including the pituitary-adrenal axis, the reticular activating system, and the autonomic