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Attention Processes Underlying Risk and Resilience in Behaviorally Inhibited Children

  • Child and Developmental Psychiatry (K Fitzgerald, Section Editor)
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Abstract

Purpose of Review

We briefly review the literature on behavioral inhibition (BI) in childhood and its associated social and emotional outcomes. We review the interplay of automatic and controlled attention processes in BI children and outline the relations between childhood BI and two components of effortful control (EC): response inhibition and attention switching.

Recent Findings

Contemporary research in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience indicates that components of EC differentially impact developmental risk for BI children. Response inhibition may inflate the risk of anxiety issues by promoting the inefficient deployment of attentional resources in social contexts, while attention shifting may serve as a protective factor by supporting dynamic social information processing.

Summary

The attentional processes subsumed under EC have diverse implications for the developmental trajectory of BI. Further research is necessary to identify the exact mechanisms by which the components of EC affect the manifestation of BI across development, and how this knowledge can guide early intervention efforts.

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Correspondence to Heather A. Henderson.

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Dr. Heather Henderson declares grants from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant number: 435-2016-0494). McLennon Wilson declares that he has no conflicts of interest.

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Henderson, H.A., Wilson, M.J. Attention Processes Underlying Risk and Resilience in Behaviorally Inhibited Children. Curr Behav Neurosci Rep 4, 99–106 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40473-017-0111-z

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