5 years ago

Neurodevelopmental maturation as a function of irritable temperament

Susan B. Perlman, Helmet T. Karim
Few studies have investigated the neural systems involved in decreasing behavioral reactivity to emotional stimuli as children age. It has been suggested that this process may interact with temperament-linked variations in neurodevelopment to better explain individual differences in the maturation of emotion regulation. In this investigation, children ages 4 to 12 (n = 30, mean age = 7.62 years, SD = 1.71 years) and adults (n = 21, mean age = 26.67 years) watched clips from popular children's films containing positive, negative, or neutral emotional content during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Compared to adults, children demonstrated greater activation in subcortical and visual regions (hippocampus, thalamus, visual cortex, fusiform) during negative clips and greater activation of subcortical and prefrontal regions during positive clips (hippocampus, thalamus, caudate, ACC, OFC, superior frontal cortex). In children only, we found an age by temperament interaction in frontal and subcortical regions indicating that activation increased as a function of age in the most irritable children, but decreased as a function of age in the least irritable children. Findings were not present in the temperament domain of fear. Findings replicate and extend the existing irritability literature, indicating that healthy children highest in irritability may develop comparatively greater activation of the lateral prefrontal cortex in order to support adaptive regulation during emotional challenges. These results are discussed within the context of the emerging literature on the utility of complex, multidimensional, and naturalistic stimuli, which present a complementary alternative to understanding ecologically valid and sustained neural responses to emotionally evocative stimuli. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23742

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