Theses Doctoral

Parental modulation of emotional information gathering across development

Fields, Andrea

Decades of research have highlighted the robust influence of caregivers across development. Parents’ unceasing role from birth through adolescence and even into adulthood positions them as a proximal factor in shaping children’s learning. Given the immature emotion regulation systems present in early life, parents’ impact on affective development is thought to be particularly strong. However, outstanding questions remain regarding the mechanisms by which children learn emotional information from caregivers.

Thus, the three studies presented in this dissertation investigate parental modulation of emotional information gathering from toddlerhood to adolescence. Chapter 1 establishes an indirect pathway of emotional information gathering by examining parental anxiety symptomology as a link between normative household stressors and young children’s behavior problems.

Building off of Chapter 1, Chapter 2 seeks to characterize a more direct mechanism of parent-child emotional information gathering, by studying whether parents demonstrate special privilege for verbal emotional information transmission during toddlerhood. Finally, Chapter 3 extends findings to a wider age range to understand how older children and adolescents attend to parents following emotional priming. Taken together, the work in this dissertation demonstrates the specific ways in which parents influence children’s emotional information gathering across development.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Tottenham, Nim L.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 10, 2023