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PsychologyOur news, events & seminars

Neural adaptation in children exposed to family violence?  Seminar

16:00 - 16:30
13 October 2011
Shackleton Building (bldg. 44), level 3, room 3095. Tea and coffee will be served in the iZone (room 3096) from 15.45.

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Barbara Seiter on 02380 595578 or email .

Event details

Childhood maltreatment is associated with later psychopathology, including conduct disorder. However, the neurobiological mechanisms by which childhood adversity heightens vulnerability to psychopathology remain poorly understood.

There is likely to be a complex interaction between environmental experiences (such as maltreatment) and individual differences in risk versus protective genes, which influences the neurobiological circuitry underpinning psychological and emotional development. The evidence from brain imaging research points to several structural and functional brain differences associated with early adversity. These will be reviewed briefly followed by a presentation of preliminary findings from an fMRI study investigating threat processing in children exposed to family violence (physical abuse and / or domestic violence). It is proposed that neural differences observed when these children process threat cues may represent a pattern of psychological adaptation that serves to increase their risk for later psychopathology.

Speaker information

Dr Eamon McCrory,Eamon McCrory is a Senior Lecturer at University College London where he co-directs the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit with Essi Viding.His research explores the environmental risk factors that shape how the brain processes social and emotional information in childhood with the aim of better understanding mechanisms of developmental vulnerability and resilience. Of particular interest are the neurocognitive mechanisms related to childhood maltreatment and antisocial behavior. He is also a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the NSPCC. His clinical role involves assessing and treating children and adolescents presenting with severe behavioural problems, including antisocial behaviour and sexually harmful behaviour.

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