Sackeim et al., 1982) to characterize neural regulation of mood in adults may generalize to the regulation of emotional expression in children.
Without question, strong inroads have been made in identifying the role of functional brain asymmetry in the regulation of emotion. The vast majority of studies have concentrated on adult samples. The investigation of affective lateralization in infants and children presents both peculiar methodological problems as well as unusual promise. In studies of adult mood, self-report of affective state is an indispensable tool that is unavailable or of questionable reliability in younger children. Further, often there is a presumed concordance in adults between alterations in mood and in emotional expression. As we have indicated, at least in infants, there may be dissociations between these aspects of emotion. The promise of developmental research in this area may lie precisely in these dissociations. As research progresses, we may observe different developmental staging to manifestations of functional brain asymmetry in the expression of emotion, in the processing of emotionally laden information, and in the regulation of mood. Establishing developmental sequences for these aspects of affective lateralization can only further our understanding of how these components of emotion interact.
Preparation of this chapter was supported in part by NIMH grant MH35636 and by a grant from the New York University Research Challenge Fund. We thank Rose Mary Colorafi and Shirley Chalke for editorial assistance.
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