Social Influences on Executive Functions Development in Children and Adolescents: Steps Toward a Social Neuroscience of Predictive Adaptive Responses

  • Dishion T
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This commentary discusses the findings and implications of four empirical papers that establish a reciprocal, longitudinal link between the social environment and executive functions from childhood to adolescence. Two future directions are suggested by this work. The first is a call for measurement research to clarify the nomological network of various measurements of self-regulation and executive functions across a variety of methods and procedures. The second new direction is to broaden the analysis of executive function to include a wider array of predictive adaptive responses to various environmental conditions, including those where youth are chronically marginalized or otherwise stressed. Findings from these studies suggest that the executive functions within the brain guide adaptation in both deviant as well as competent responses to the social environment. Understanding various forms of adaptation will enhance the potential for prevention as well as avoid iatrogenic intervention strategies with misinformed targets.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Aggression
  • Executive function
  • Peers
  • Social neuroscience

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  • Thomas J. Dishion

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