Dopaminergic associations between behavioral inhibition, executive functioning, and anxiety in development

Kelley E. Gunther, Koraly Pérez-Edgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Temperamental Behavioral Inhibition (BI) is a well-documented risk factor for social anxiety in development. However, not all BI children will ultimately demonstrate anxious symptomology. Levels of inhibitory control have been proposed as a possible risk or protective factor for these children, but research remains mixed on whether higher levels of inhibitory control may increase or decrease risk in development. However, the idea of elevated inhibitory control as a risk factor for maladaptation is often considered incongruent with prior conceptions of advantages conferred by proficient inhibitory control. Here, we review theories pertaining to greater inhibitory control as a risk factor for BI children. We also review how individual differences in dopaminergic activity may link BI, executive functioning, and anxiety both concurrently and longitudinally, explaining these nonlinear relations. By way of these associations, we propose a model examining how transactions between these dopamine- modulated domains over time may predict socioemotional adaptation or maladaptation, and discuss how spontaneous eye blink rate may allow for the developmentally-friendly testing of cognitive and socioemotional associations with dopaminergic activity across different forms of experimental design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100966
JournalDevelopmental Review
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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