Event-related potential measures of emotion regulation in early childhood.
Emotion regulation in adults may be mediated by frontal cortical activities that adjust attention in response to challenging emotions. We examined event-related potentials across emotional conditions to assess normative patterns and individual differences in cortical mechanisms of emotion regulation in 4-6-year-olds. The children viewed pictures of angry, neutral, and happy faces during a Go/No-go task. Angry faces generated the greatest (frontocentral) N2 amplitudes and fastest N2 latencies, and happy faces produced the smallest amplitudes and slowest latencies. Frontal electrodes showed larger N2s to angry faces in the Go condition. The P3b was also largest for angry faces. More fearful children showed faster latency N2s to angry faces. These results are interpreted in terms of early-developing mechanisms for regulating anxiety and processing emotional information.
Lewis M.D., Todd R.M. & Honsberger M.J.