Resilience to adversity

From 7½ Lessons
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A note for Lesson no. 3, "Little Brains Wire Themselves to Their World," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 61 is:

Some kids are fortunate enough to be naturally resilient to the insidious effects of adversity and poverty.

Some children are naturally more resilient to the toxic effects of adversity and poverty because they have gene variations that allow them to develop in a way that is less affected by their environment. Researchers sometimes refer to these two types of children as orchids and dandelions.[1] Orchids thrive in enriched environments, such as a greenhouse, but wilt in stressful environments. Dandelions do fine just about anywhere; to them, the entire world is a patch of soil, whether it’s located in a lovely garden or in a crack in the pavement.

Several other interesting research articles on resilience were published by neuroscientist Nim Tottenham.[2][3][4]


  1. Boyce, W. Thomas. 2019. The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive. New York: Knopf.
  2. Alba, Laura Alicia, Jessica Flannery, Mor Shapiro, and Nim Tottenham. 2019. "Working Memory Moderates the Association Between Early Institutional Care and Separation Anxiety Symptoms in Late Childhood and Adolescence." Development and Psychopathology 31 (3): 989–997.
  3. Tottenham, Nim, Mor Shapiro, Jessica Flannery, Christina Caldera, and Regina M. Sullivan. 2019. "Parental Presence Switches Avoidance to Attraction Learning in Children." Nature Human Behaviour 3 (10): 1070–1077.
  4. Callaghan, Bridget L., Dylan G. Gee, Laurel Gabard-Durnam, Eva H. Telzer, Kathryn L. Humphreys, Bonnie Goff, Mor Shapiro, Jessica Flannery, Daniel S. Lumian, Dominic S. Fareri, Christina Caldera, and Nim Tottenham. 2019. "Decreased Amygdala Reactivity to Parent Cues Protects Against Anxiety Following Early Adversity: An Examination Across 3 Years." Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging 4 (7): 664-671.