NACS Seminar: Capturing Socioemotional Trajectories IN the Social World

Friday, February 24, 2023
10:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
1103 Bioscience Research Building

Speaker: Koraly Perez-Edgar (Pennsylvania State University)

Title: "Temperament in Context: Capturing Socioemotional Trajectories IN the Social World"

Abstract: Behavioral inhibition is a biologically-based temperamental trait marked by sensitivity to novelty and discomfort in social situations. Associated with a unique psychophysiological and neural profile, behavioral inhibition is also one of our strongest known markers of risk for anxiety. Yet, the majority of children with behavioral inhibition do not go on to develop a clinical disorder. For most children, maturational and environmental forces work in tandem to ameliorate this risk. For those children who do show elevated anxiety, attention mechanisms may act as a developmental tether that sustains early temperamental risk over time. Attention is a central mechanism by which individuals navigate through their environments. A growing literature suggests that attentional biases to evocative stimuli may play a causal role in emerging anxiety. Specifically, attention biases to threat are evident in both children and adults with anxiety and children temperamentally at risk for developing anxiety. However, much of this work has focused on tightly controlled computer-based tasks. While this foundational work is crucial to teasing apart individual mechanisms, it does so at the expense of evident complexity. The current presentation will examine methods for generating more robust and ecologically valid data, including mobile eye-tracking, to capture attention patterns in children at risk for anxiety. These data are then coupled with known biological markers of risk, such as EEG, to better understand developmental processes in context.

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