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Equilibrium and Disequilibrium in Development

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Abstract

This chapter has surveyed the role of equilibrium and disequilibrium in learning about emotion regulation. Equilibrium/homeostatic processes are aimed at maintaining an optimal level of tension in the system, while avoiding an escalation of tension to a point of breakdown, by applying processes of tension reduction. Early in development or in acquiring a new task, the thresholds at which tension becomes excessive are quite low, but with continuing development, they are raised. Raising of tension thresholds is characteristic of learning processes and aided as children begin to orient themselves towards new objects, and maintain the resulting raised level of tension and interest in analyzing them. Such elevations of tension entail a facilitative effect of stress, as long as elevations are not extreme. Since very high stress levels are known to interfere with learning, learning itself proceeds as slight raises in tension activate the firing of neurons and enable them to form new connections with other neurons, thereby creating interlinked networks that become more readily activated with increasing practice.

Keywords

  • Homeostasis
  • Equilibrium
  • Steady state
  • Tension reduction
  • Tension amplification
  • Tension thresholds
  • Raising or lowering tension thresholds
  • Equilibrium zone
  • Breakdown zone
  • Disequilibrium and learning
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Crystallization
  • Self-regulation
  • Automatic and cognitive control
  • Prefrontal cortex and its role

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Labouvie-Vief, G. (2015). Equilibrium and Disequilibrium in Development. In: Integrating Emotions and Cognition Throughout the Lifespan. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-09822-7_2

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