Attentional control as a basic process underlying social emotional and academic development
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SourceEarly Education and Development 2010 - 21 (5) 744-764
Research Findings: Part of the attention system of the brain is involved in the control of thoughts, emotions, and behavior. As attentional control develops, children are more able to control cognition and responses flexibly and to adjust their behavior in social interactions better. In this article, we discuss evidence from different levels of analysis (e.g., temperamental, cognitive, and neural) indicating that attentional control plays a central role in several factors related to schooling, including socioemotional adjustment and academic achievement. Connecting behavioral and cognitive levels of analysis with the function of a particular brain network opens the possibility of exploring other factors that might influence the efficiency of this self-regulatory system. Moreover, understanding the processes and factors influencing the development of attentional control has the potential to help parents and teachers in their effort to promote schooling success. Practice or Policy: We also discuss recent efforts to develop educational interventions aimed at enhancing children's attention skills.