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EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING, EMOTION REGULATION, AND PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
Yana Suchy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology,
Utah Brain Institute, Utah Center on Aging, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Recently, neuropsychological research has begun to examine the relationship between cognition and the ability to down-regulate maladaptive emotional responses (i.e., emotion regulation). This research has shown that the ability to regulate emotions correlates with neuropsychological indices of executive functioning (EF), with activation in the prefrontal cortex (i.e., the presumed substrate of EF), and with the emergence of EF during early development. Importantly, EF deficiencies, whether present congenitally or acquired through illness or injury, can be linked to deficiencies in emotion regulation, which in turn represent a risk factor for physical and mental illness. The present workshop will first review the neuroanatomic and executive underpinnings of various emotion regulation strategies. Next, the workshop will examine how deficiencies in emotion regulation and EF mediate physical, psychologic, and neurocognitive dysfunction, principally via dysregulation of the HPA axis. Lastly, the workshop will review typical clinical populations characterized by impairments in emotion regulation.By the end of the workshop, participants will (1) be able to describe the neuroanatomic networks and cognitive correlates of different emotion regulation strategies, (2) understand how emotion regulation deficiencies translate into poor physical, psychologic, and neurocognitive health, and (3) understand which clinical populations are characterized by deficits in emotion regulation.