MENTAL PROCESSES AND BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
By Joyce Parker, Ph.D.
From Siegel, Daniel; Toward an Interpersonal Neurobiology of the Developing Mind: Attachment Relationships, “Mindsight,” and Neural Integration, Infant Mental Health Journal, Vol.22(1-2), 67-94 (2001)(taken from page 73)
“During the early years of life, the basic circuits of the brain are developing which will be primarily responsible for a number of important mental processes involving emotion, memory, behavior, and interpersonal relationships.” These processes include:
- The generation and regulation of emotions: How we regulate affect within ourselves and between others and ourselves. The better our ability, the more effective our behavior.
- The capacity for “response flexibility” or mindful, reflective behavior: How we reflect on the situations and the feelings they generate before we act on them. The more reflective we are, the less impulsive and inappropriate will be our behavior.
- The autobiographical sense of the self and the construction of a “self-narrative”: How we understand our past and how we relate it to the present and predict from it for the future. The more we understand how the past has affected us, the better we can relate to present and future relationships and events.
- The capacity to understand and care about the minds of others: This involves the capacity for empathy that is so important in all effective relationships with others. Empathy allows us to understand the minds of others.
- The ability to engage in interpersonal communication: How our expectation of being understood and understanding others affects our communication with others. The more attuned and collaborative was our early experience of interpersonal communication the more effective will be our ability to communicate with others.
The author of this article, and founder of the Therapyinla.com website, Joyce Parker, passed away in 2011. To honor her we are keeping her articles posted at this website.
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