The origins of effortful control: How early development within arousal/regulatory systems influences attentional and affective control

Article


Wass, S. 2021. The origins of effortful control: How early development within arousal/regulatory systems influences attentional and affective control. Developmental Review. 61 (Art. 100978). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2021.100978
AuthorsWass, S.
Abstract

In this review, I consider the developmental interactions between two domains sometimes characterised as at opposite ends of the human spectrum: early-developing arousal/regulatory domains, that subserve basic mechanisms of survival and homeostasis; and the later-developing ‘higher-order’ cognitive domain of effortful control. First, I examine how short-term fluctuations within arousal/regulatory systems associate with fluctuations in effortful control during early childhood. I present evidence suggesting that both hyper- and hypo-arousal are associated with immediate reductions in attentional and affective control; but that hyper-aroused individuals can show cognitive strengths (faster learning speeds) as well as weaknesses (reduced attentional control). I also present evidence that, in infancy, both hyper- and hypo-aroused states may be dynamically amplified through interactions with the child’s social and physical environment. Second, I examine long-term interactions between arousal/regulatory systems and effortful control. I present evidence that atypical early arousal/regulatory development predicts poorer attentional and affective control during later development. And I consider moderating influences of the environment, such that elevated early arousal/regulatory system reactivity may confer both cognitive advantages in a supportive environment, and disadvantages in an unsupportive one. Finally, I discuss how future research can further our understanding of these close associations between attentional and affective domains during early development.

JournalDevelopmental Review
Journal citation61 (Art. 100978)
ISSN0273-2297
Year2021
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2021.100978
Publication dates
Online24 Jul 2021
PrintSep 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted10 Jul 2021
Deposited29 Jul 2021
Copyright holder© 2021 Elsevier
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