Social scaffolding of human amygdala-mPFCcircuit development

Soc Neurosci. 2015;10(5):489-99. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2015.1087424. Epub 2015 Sep 21.


Strong evidence indicates that reciprocal connections between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) support fundamental aspects of emotional behavior in adulthood. However, this circuitry is slow to develop in humans, exhibiting immaturity in childhood. The argument is made that the development of this circuitry in humans is intimately associated with caregiving, such that parental availability during childhood provides important and enduring scaffolding of neuroaffective processes that ultimately form of the nature of the adult phenotype.

Keywords: Amygdala; Child development; Emotion; Parents; Sensitive periods.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amygdala / growth & development*
  • Animals
  • Emotions*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Parents / psychology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / growth & development*
  • Social Behavior*