Child development in the context of adversity: experiential canalization of brain and behavior

Am Psychol. 2012 May-Jun;67(4):309-18. doi: 10.1037/a0027493. Epub 2012 Mar 5.


The authors examine the effects of poverty-related adversity on child development, drawing upon psychobiological principles of experiential canalization and the biological embedding of experience. They integrate findings from research on stress physiology, neurocognitive function, and self-regulation to consider adaptive processes in response to adversity as an aspect of children's development. Recent research on early caregiving is paired with research in prevention science to provide a reorientation of thinking about the ways in which psychosocial and economic adversity are related to continuity in human development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Models, Psychological
  • Poverty / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*