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The development of emotion regulation: an fMRI study of cognitive reappraisal in children, adolescents and young adults

McRae, Kateri and Gross, James J. and Weber, Jochen and Robertson, Elaine R. and Sokol-Hessner, Peter and Ray, Rebecca D. and Gabrieli, John D. E. and Ochsner, Kevin N. (2012) The development of emotion regulation: an fMRI study of cognitive reappraisal in children, adolescents and young adults. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7 (1). pp. 11-22. ISSN 1749-5016.

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The ability to use cognitive reappraisal to regulate emotions is an adaptive skill in adulthood, but little is known about its development. Because reappraisal is thought to be supported by linearly developing prefrontal regions, one prediction is that reappraisal ability develops linearly. However, recent investigations into socio-emotional development suggest that there are non-linear patterns that uniquely affect adolescents. We compared older children (10–13), adolescents (14–17) and young adults (18–22) on a task that distinguishes negative emotional reactivity from reappraisal ability. Behaviorally, we observed no age differences in self-reported emotional reactivity, but linear and quadratic relationships between reappraisal ability and age. Neurally, we observed linear age-related increases in activation in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, previously identified in adult reappraisal. We observed a quadratic pattern of activation with age in regions associated with social cognitive processes like mental state attribution (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, anterior temporal cortex). In these regions, we observed relatively lower reactivity-related activation in adolescents, but higher reappraisal-related activation. This suggests that (i) engagement of the cognitive control components of reappraisal increases linearly with age and (ii) adolescents may not normally recruit regions associated with mental state attribution, but (iii) this can be reversed with reappraisal instructions.

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Additional Information:© The Author (2012). Published by Oxford University Press. Received 3 May 2011; Accepted 27 November 2011. The authors would like to thank Julia Havard for assistance with data collection, entry and scoring, Jennifer Silvers for comments on a previous version of this manuscript, Jeff C. Cooper for consultation on imaging analyses, Bethany Ciesielski for help with data coding, our participants, their parents, NSF grant BCS-0224342 (J.D.E. Gabrieli) and NICHD grant R01AG039279 (K.N. Ochsner).
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Subject Keywords:reappraisal; emotion regulation; development; social; cognitive
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120203-144908664
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Official Citation: Kateri McRae, James J. Gross, Jochen Weber, Elaine R. Robertson, Peter Sokol-Hessner, Rebecca D. Ray, John D.E. Gabrieli, and Kevin N. Ochsner The development of emotion regulation: an fMRI study of cognitive reappraisal in children, adolescents and young adults Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci (2012) 7(1): 11-22 doi:10.1093/scan/nsr093
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:29132
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Feb 2012 23:26
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:38

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