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Infant regulation of the vagal "brake"
predicts child behavior problems: a psychobiological model of social behavior.
Porges SW; Doussard-Roosevelt JA; Portales AL;
Institute for Child Study, University of
Maryland, College Park 20742, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dev Psychobiol 1996 Dec;29(8):697-712
NLM CIT. ID:
Cardiac vagal tone is a construct that describes
the functional relationship between the brainstem and the heart. Cardiac vagal tone is
measured by quantifying the amplitude of respiratory sinus arrhythmia, a component of
heart rate variability reflecting the functional output of vagal pathways on the heart.
Although there is an extensive literature evaluating baseline vagal tone and its relation
to behavior, the relation between individual differences in the ability to regulate
cardiac vagal tone and behavior has been theoretically vague. This article introduces a
theoretical model to explain the relation between vagal tone during steady states and
vagal reactivity (i.e., the vagal brake) in response to environmental challenges. Based
upon the proposed model, it was hypothesized that infants who had difficulties in
regulating the vagal brake (i.e., decreasing cardiac vagal tone) during social/attention
tasks would have difficulties developing appropriate social interactions requiring
reciprocal engagement and disengagement strategies. Data from 24 infants are presented.
The findings support the model and demonstrate that infants with difficulties in
decreasing vagal tone during a social/attention task at 9 months of age had significantly
more behavioral problems at 3 years of age.
Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
When my office
lease expired at the end of 2004, I decided to turn it into a
"sabbatical" from my private practice. Many years ago, in my
grandfather's 89th year of life, he told me, "John, it is important
to smell the roses while you can still smell them." His life
gave living a very good reputation. It is also true that the
pursuit of that philosophy required my grandfather to to re-open his
assay office/ore market in Wickenburg, Arizona as a 75-year-old because
he had run a little short of retirement money. Thus, if blessed with his
luck and health, I'll be back.. --jjh