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Children's Neural Processing of the Emotional Environment: Angry Voices (PEEP)

Headshot of Pamela ColePI: Pamela Cole

NIH R21MH104547
Administered in: College of the Liberal Arts


Several of the family factors that are associated with poorer child emotion regulation involve a child's exposure to anger. Individual differences in anger processing may help to explain why family risk factors such as inter- parental anger are associated with poorer self-regulation. Although there is behavioral evidence that helps us understand children's sensitivity to and knowledge of anger, the only research involving neural processing of anger has been done with adults or in a few cases with infants. This application is aimed at understanding how children, ages 7 and 8 years, process angry prosody at the neural level. Children's patterns of brain activation when hearing angry, sad, happy, and neutral prosody are examined using fMRI technology. In addition, this project examines whether the processing of affective prosody, particularly angry prosody, is influenced by the child's familiarity with the speaker, by comparing prosody spoken by the child's mother or an unfamiliar female. The findings of this project would inform basic affective neuroscience by including research on young children and would provide a method for subsequent studies of individual differences in typical and at risk children's processing of angry prosody.

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