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Regulatory processes and the development of cognitive representations

  • Douglas Derryberry (a1) and Marjorie A. Reed (a1)

Although the construct of regulation is usually applied to ongoing behavior, it also has implications for ongoing cognition and the development of cognitive representations. We propose that subcortical motivational systems influence cortical representations in two general ways. First, they regulate response processes, promoting a general selection of information to which the child is exposed. Second, motivational systems regulate attention, promoting a more selective stabilization of representations for motivationally relevant sources of information. Together with the environment, these regulatory processes shape the child's developing representations. Individual differences in these processes result in cortical representational systems that enhance the motivational systems* ability to detect relevant inputs and to guide behavior in light of them. Examples are provided that focus on fearful children, discussing how their self-representation may contribute to anxious psychopathology.

Corresponding author
Douglas Derryberry, Department of Psychology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.
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