UMass Amherst Researchers Receive National Science Foundation Grant to Study How Young Kids Develop Self-regulation

Thursday, August 29, 2019

University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers have been awarded a $390,483 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the role of coordinated brain and heart activity in the rapid development of self-regulation in 3- to 5-year-olds. 

“How the heart functions in collaboration with the brain during a period of tremendous development and change is just ripe for research,”says developmental psychologist Kirby Deater-Deckard, professor of psychological and brain sciences.

One of the goals of the study, led by Deater-Deckhard and Adam Grabell, is to better identify and understand the causes of differences among young children in their self-regulation tendencies.

This new study links up with ongoing work by Grabell that examines the roots of clinical irritability in young children. Together, the studies could lead to better learning tools for all children and better mental health care for children with a range of diagnoses.

“We want to understand what the brain is doing when kids are trying to regulate their emotions and how this predicts psychopathology,” says Grabell, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences, whose work is supported by a $891,521 mentored career development award from the National Institutes of Health.  Read more...