Assistant Professor, Developmental and DCN
The research of the Developmental Social Affective Neuroscience Lab is centered on the relationships between experience, brain, and emotional development. The research asks the question, “How do adverse experiences such as poverty and inadequate parenting drive changes in brain structure and function that influence an individual’s emotional development?” using multidisciplinary and converging-methods approach, including neuroimaging (MRI, fMRI), eye-tracking, and behavioral methods. Projects of the lab focus on three aspects of emotional development that can be influenced by early socioemotional experience: emotion regulation emotion processing, and emotional bonding.
The first focus of my research program is the effects of early adverse experiences (poverty and inadequate parenting) on emotion regulation. Early adverse experiences can led to wear and tear on physiological stress regulatory systems, called allostatic load. Currently, collaborating with Cornell University and the University of Michigan, we focus on projects to understand the effects of early experiences on neural activity for emotion regulation in a sample of young adults who grew up in middle- and low-income families since childhood. We are also interested in the links between genetic, neural, physiological and behavioral emotion regulation as well as roles of psychosocial resources for emotion regulation, including coping strategies, social supports, and resilience factors.
The second focus of my research program is the ability to process the emotions of others, a key component of social cognition. We previously studied neural and behavioral deficits in emotion information processing among children with severe mood regulation problems, such as pediatric bipolar disorder or chronic irritability. In current projects, we examine the role of early experience (poverty and parenting) on neural reactivity to negative emotional stimuli using both fMRI and eye tracking techniques.
The third focus is early development of emotional bonding between a parent and child. We examine the effects of chronic stress or negative experiences (poverty or inadequate parental care received in childhood) on these structural and functional differences in brain regions for emotional bonding among new mothers during early postpartum years. In addition, we study links between parental brain, moods and parenting behaviors as well as children’s developmental outcomes.
Kim, P., Thomas, L. A., Rosen, B. H., Moscicki, A. M., Brotman, M. A., Blair, R. J. R., Zarate, C. S., Pine, D. S., & Leibenluft, E. (in press). Differing amygdala responses to facial expressions in children vs. adults with bipolar disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry.
Evans, G. W. & Kim, P. (in press). Early childhood poverty and adult chronic physiological stress: The mediating role of childhood cumulative risk exposure. Psychological Science.
Swain, J. E., Kim, P*, & Ho, S*. (in press). Neuroendocrinology of parental response to baby-cry. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. *equal contributions
Kim, P., Jenkins, S. E., Connolly, M. E., Deveney, C. M., Fromm, S. J., Brotman, M. A., Nelson, E. E., Pine, D. S., & Leibenluft, E. (2012). Neural Correlates of Cognitive Flexibility in Children At Risk for Bipolar Disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 46, 22-30.
Kim, P., Feldman, R., Mayes, L. C., Eicher, V., Thompson, N., Leckman, J. F., & Swain, J. E. (2011). Breastfeeding, brain activation to own infant cry, and maternal sensitivity. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, 907-915.
Kim, P. & Evans, G. W. (2011). Family resources, genes, and human development. In A. Booth, S. McHale, & N. Landale (Eds.) Biosocial Research Contributions to Understanding Family Processes and Problems (pp. 221-230). New York, NY: Springer.
Kim, P., Leckman, J. F., Mayes, L. C., Feldman, R, Wang, X., & Swain, J. E. (2010). The plasticity of human maternal brain: longitudinal changes in brain anatomy during the early postpartum period. Behavioral Neuroscience, 124, 695-700.
Kim, P., Leckman, J. F., Mayes, L. C., Newman, M., Feldman, R. & Swain, J. E. (2010) Perceived quality of maternal care in childhood and structure and function of mothers’ brain in the postpartum, Developmental Science, 13, 662-673.
Evans, G. W. & Kim, P. (2010) Cumulative risk as a potential explanatory mechanism for the SES-health gradient. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1186, 174-189.
Kim, P. & Swain, J. E. (2007). Sad Dads: Paternal postpartum depression. Psychiatry, 4, 36-47.
Evans, G. W., Kim, P., Ting, A. H., & Tesher, H. B. (2007). Cumulative Risk, Maternal Responsiveness, and Allostatic Load Among Young Adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 43, 341-351.
Evans, G. W. & Kim. P. (2007). Childhood poverty and health: Cumulative risk exposure and a biological mechanism. Psychological Science, 18, 953-957.