Research Topic

The social emotional developmental and cognitive neuroscience of socioeconomic gradients: Laboratory, population, cross-cultural and community developmental approaches

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About this Research Topic

This Research Topic is cross-listed in Frontiers in Psychology under the section of - Developmental Psychology
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This Research Topic is cross-listed in Frontiers in Psychology under the section of - Developmental Psychology

The study of socioeconomic gradients is concerned with the variations in socio-emotional and cognitive development of children and youth from different socioeconomic status. Although a general consensus of basic results is quickly emerging, the interpretation of findings and their implications for programs and policies can still be influenced by epistemological or ideological stances. Inadvertently, these influences may lead this critically important area of research to methodological and ethical foundational challenges on key issues, such as whether interventions need to address the needs of the individual children versus aiming at eradicating poverty and social inequality. Without proper debate on these issues, the risk is a tendency to simplify the complexity that characterizes both phenomena of development and social inequality. The overarching aim of this research topic is to give the full spectrum of views representing the best examples of research where different methodological stances (i.e., laboratory vs. field) and theoretical approaches (i.e., mechanistic vs. adaptive) have been used. The test bench for the comparisons is human development in the broadest sense of the term. The aim of this research topic is to portray the current status in different disciplines addressing social inequities and human development in the most salient of its domains, that is, those pertaining to socio-emotional, behavioural and mental health, as well as language, cognition, and physical growth. The main purpose is to house a global, international, critical, and rich debate with focus on empirical research updates, implications, and challenges in developmental psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, epidemiology and population studies, social sciences (e.g., policy, political sciences, education, anthropology, sociology), and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. In this context, we will consider contributions to four strategic domains: (1) social sciences, focusing, among other topics, on updating scientific, ethical, and ideological/conceptual issues on social inequities and inequalities from either a national or international perspective; (2) interdisciplinary efforts and applied research, focusing on scientific and/or policy priorities for the next decade to reduce social inequalities among children and youth and their families; (2) developmental sciences, including child and adolescent mental health, language and cognition, and neuroscience (e.g., behavioral and neuroimaging) focusing on research conducted in different countries and social contexts; and (4) neuropsychoendocrinology, focusing on the relationships between social context and acute/chronic stress across the world among children and youth. Submissions pertinent to this research topic may include (but not be limited to): 1) examples of population based approaches currently in place: epidemiological studies, large scale studies using administrative school and health data; large scale brain (EEGs, MRI) assessments to challenge the myth of deficiency in individuals from vulnerable populations and studies that draw attention to the need to eradicate poverty and social inequality rather than intervene on individuals; large scale assessment of community mental health among groups of children sharing common environmental features rather than recruiting unrelated individual children into a sample; 2) in-depth ethical, epistemological and sociological analysis of structural influences (e.g., schools, childcare) and their influences on vulnerable groups from a population perspective rather than the effects of the individual child; 3) neuro-imaging studies (perspectives, reviews, and empirical research reports) that disentan


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