The neurodynamics of emotion: delineating typical and atypical emotional processes during adolescence

Dev Sci. 2016 Jan;19(1):3-18. doi: 10.1111/desc.12373. Epub 2015 Nov 8.


The study of development is, in and of itself, the study of change over time, but emotions, particularly emotional reactivity and emotional regulation, also unfold over time, albeit over briefer time-scales. Adolescence is a period of development characterized by marked changes in emotional processes and rewiring of the underlying neural circuitry, making this time of life formative. Yet this period is also a time of increased risk for anxiety and mood disorders. Changes in the temporal dynamics of emotional processes (e.g. magnitude, time-to-peak and duration) occur during this developmental period and have been associated with risk for mood and anxiety disorders. In this article, we describe how the temporal dynamics of emotions change during adolescence and how they may increase risk for these psychopathologies. We highlight studies that illustrate how formalizing temporal neurodynamics of emotion may enhance links among levels of analyses from neurobiological to real-world, moment-to-moment experiences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Self-Control / psychology*