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Cognitive emotion regulation in children: Reappraisal of emotional faces modulates neural source activity in a frontoparietal network
Emotion regulation has an important role in child development and psychopathology. Reappraisal as cognitive regulation technique can be used effectively by children. Moreover, an ERP component known to reflect emotional processing called late positive potential (LPP) can be modulated by children using reappraisal and this modulation is also related to children's emotional adjustment. The present study seeks to elucidate the neural generators of such LPP effects. To this end, children aged 8–14 years reappraised emotional faces, while neural activity in an LPP time window was estimated using magnetoencephalography-based source localization. Additionally, neural activity was correlated with two indexes of emotional adjustment and age. Reappraisal reduced activity in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during down-regulation and enhanced activity in the right parietal cortex during up-regulation. Activity in the visual cortex decreased with increasing age, more adaptive emotion regulation and less anxiety. Results demonstrate that reappraisal changed activity within a frontoparietal network in children. Decreasing activity in the visual cortex with increasing age is suggested to reflect neural maturation. A similar decrease with adaptive emotion regulation and less anxiety implies that better emotional adjustment may be associated with an advance in neural maturation.