Behavioral and neural correlates of emotional development: typically developing infants and infants of depressed and/or anxious mothers

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Abstract

Objectives: To describe the main findings of studies of behavioral and neural correlates regarding the development of facial emotion processing during the first year of life in typically developing infants and infants of depressed and/or anxious mothers. Sources: Comprehensive, non-systematic review of the literature on studies about individual differences in facial emotion processing by newborns and infants over the first year of life. Summary of the findings: Maternal stress related to depression and anxiety has been associated to atypical emotional processing and attentional behaviors in the offspring. Recent neurophysiological studies using electroencephalogram and event-related potentials have begun to shed light on the possible mechanisms underlying such behaviors. Conclusions: Infants of depressed and/or anxious mothers have increased risk for several adverse outcomes across the lifespan. Further neurobehavioral investigations and the promotion of clinical and developmental research integration might eventually contribute to refining screening tools, improving treatment, and enabling primary prevention interventions for children at risk.

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A. Porto, J., L. Nunes, M., & Nelson, C. A. (2016, May 1). Behavioral and neural correlates of emotional development: typically developing infants and infants of depressed and/or anxious mothers. Jornal de Pediatria. Elsevier Editora Ltda. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jped.2015.12.004

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