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Photo by Bia Andrade on Unsplash


The projects in our lab focus on the regulation of thought, emotion, and behavior. We study regulatory processes in different developmental periods, including infants, children, adolescents, and emerging adults, and in different contexts, such as in the presence of strangers, while bored, or processing emotions. Regulatory processes are essential to well-being across the lifespan. The goal of our research is to advance scientific understanding of these processes to promote health.

Infancy and Childhood. It is well know children’s emerging self-regulatory abilities have a foundational role in development, preparing children to enter school, take on challenges, manage stress, and navigate relationships. These early developing self-regulatory abilities are thought to impact health across the lifespan. A recent publication of ours describes how we believe these processes can be strengthened in childhood. Read a press release about the paper here.

The lab has several ongoing collaborations with Maria Gartstein, director of the WSU Infant Temperament Lab in the Department of Psychology and expert in temperament, emotion regulation, and parent-infant relationships. Our research is examining the influence of the  functional organization of the brain, parent-child interactions, and temperament on emotion regulation and the emergence of top-down regulatory processes in early childhood, often called executive function. Read a press release about a NSF grant awarded to Drs. Perone and Gartstein supporting this work here. We are beginning to follow these children into middle childhood and examine early predictors of the emergence of social anxiety.

Adolescence. Adolescence is a critical transition period in development. Adolescents’ interests are evolving, and they are acquiring increasingly more autonomy. Recent research by our colleague Dr. Elizabeth Weybright, director of the Adolescent Health Promotion Lab, has shown adolescents are also experiencing more boredom now than years past. Boredom is a negative emotion that induces stress and requires regulatory skills to effectively resolve. People who experience boredom frequently are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors and experience mental health problems. Our research is examining age-related change in boredom and testing whether adolescents appropriately self-regulate when the encounter situations that are understimulating and induce boredom. One important goal of this work is to identify when and why adolescents experience boredom to help promote healthy strategies to mitigate boredom.

Emerging Adulthood. The lab is investigating the brain basis of individual differences in self-regulation as it relates to emotion regulation, temperament, and mental health in emerging adults. We are especially interested in individual differences in emotion differentiation. Some people experience distinct emotions, such as sadness, anger, and frustration in different settings, whereas others may experience one general negative emotion across different sittings. We are interested in the brain basis of emotion differentiation, how emotion differentiation impacts mental health, and how experiences earlier in development influence people’s capacity to differentiate emotions.