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The psychobiology of emotional development: The case for examining sociocultural processes.

  • Author(s): Michalska, Kalina J;
  • Davis, Elizabeth L
  • et al.

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Psychobiological techniques to assess emotional responding have revolutionized the field of emotional development in recent decades by equipping researchers with the tools to quantify children's emotional reactivity and regulation more directly than behavioral approaches allow. Knowledge gained from the incorporation of methods spanning levels of analysis has been substantial, yet many open questions remain. In this prospective review, we (a) describe the major conceptual and empirical advances that have resulted from this methodological innovation, and (b) lay out a case for what we view as the most pressing challenge for the next decades of research into the psychobiology of emotional development: focusing empirical efforts toward understanding the implications of the broader sociocultural contexts in which children develop that shape the psychobiology of emotion. Thus, this review integrates previous knowledge about the psychobiology of emotion with a forward-looking set of recommendations for incorporating sociocultural processes into future investigations.

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