Emotion Regulation Without a Mature Prefrontal Cortex
We now know that the prefrontal cortex is one of the last brain regions to develop, and its connections with other cortical and subcortical targets are very slow to form. These processes are especially slow in the human, and evidence of continued development has been documented through adolescence and adulthood. This slow-paced and sustained development renders the prefrontal cortex and its connections vulnerable to environmental insults (e.g., early psychosocial adversity), but at the same time offers great potential for extensive learning from positive, enriching environments, and the optimization of neural processes that will facilitate regulated behavior. Its end-product is an incredibly rich emotional regulation repertoire in the mature adult.