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PSYC 2450 Lecture Notes - Asteroid Family, Dazed, The Anatomy Of Dependence

Course Code
PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

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Chapter 12 - Emotional Development, Temperament, and Attachment
Displaying Emotions: The development (and control) of emotional expressions
- Izard’s procedure to test infants’ emotional expression, test raters, who are unaware of the
events that an infant has experienced, to tell him what emotion the infant is experiencing
from their facial expressions.
- Results show, different adults observing same expressions reliably see same emotions
- Other results, adults can usually tell which positive emotion a baby is experiencing (joy vs.
interest) but not for negative emotions (fear vs. anger)
- Basic emotions: the set of emotions present at birth or emerging early in the first year that
some theorists believe to be biologically programmed.
- At birth, babies show interest, distress, disgust and contentment.
- Between 2 and 7 months anger, sadness, joy, surprise, and fear
- Biologically programmed because they emerge in all healthy infants at roughly same ages
and in all cultures.
- Some learning required to express emotions not present at birth
- In second year, infants show complex emotions: embarrassment, shame, guilt, envy, and
pride. These feelings are sometimes called self-conscious emotions.
- Embarrassment will not emerge until the child can recognize itself in a mirror.
- Guilt implies that we have in some way failed to live up to our obligations to other people.
Children will seek to apologize to peers or parents.
- Shame is more self-focused and is not based on a concern for others. Children will seek to
hide or avoid people.
Socialization of emotions and emotional self-regulation
- Each society has a set of emotional display rules that specify the circumstances under which
various emotions should or should not be expressed. (Be happy when you get a gift from
Regulating emotions
- Emotional self-regulation: Strategies for managing emotions or adjusting emotional arousal
to an appropriate level of intensity.
- Hard for young infants / harder for 6-month old boys than 6-month old girls.
- By 1 year old, infants develop strategies for reducing negative arousal - chewing on objects,
rocking themselves, moving away from people.
- By 18-24 months, toddlers are more likely to try to control the action of people or objects
that upset them. Getting better at coping with frustration (ex. waiting for snack) by
distracting themselves. (Ex. playing with toys)
- Adaptive regulation of emotions may sometimes involve maintaining or intensifying one’s
feelings rather than suppressing them. (Express anger to stand up to bully)
Acquiring emotional display rules
- Age 3, children show some limited ability to disguise their true feelings.
- Girls are more motivated and skilled at complying with display rules than boys probably
because of the pressure to be “nice”.

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Recognizing and interpreting emotions
Social referencing
- Between 7-10 months olds, infants’ ability to reorganize and interpret particular emotional
expression become more obvious.
- Social referencing: The use of others’ emotional expressions to infer the meaning of
otherwise ambiguous situations.
- End of first year: infants typically approach and play with unfamiliar toys if a nearby stranger
is smiling but apt to avoid if the stranger displays a fearful expression.
Conversations about emotions
- Toddlers being to talk about emotions at 18-24 months
- The more toddlers discuss emotions, the better they are at interpreting other’s emotions and
at settling disputes with friends later in school.
- Empathy: The ability to experience the same emotions that someone else is experiencing.
Later milestones in emotional understanding
- By age 4-5, children can correctly infer whether a person is happy or angry, or sad, from his
or her expressive body movements.
- By age 8, they recognize that many situations will elicit different emotional reactions from
different individuals.
- 6-9 year olds begin to understand that a person can experience more than one emotion at the
same time.
Temperament and development
- Temperament: A person’s characteristic modes of responding emotionally and behaviorally
to environmental events, including such attributes as activity level, irritability, fearfulness,
and sociability.
- 6 dimensions - individual differences in infant temperament
o Fearful distress: wariness, distress, and withdrawal in new situations
o Irritable distress: fussiness, crying, and showing distress when desires are frustrated
o Positive affect: frequency of smiling, laughing, willingness to approach others and to
cooperate with them.
o Activity level: amount of gross motor activity (kicking, crawling)
o Attention span/persistence: length of time child orients to and focuses on objects or events of
o Rhythmicity: Regularity/predictability of bodily functions such as eating, sleeping, and
bowel functioning.
- Fearful distress does not appear until 6-7 months, and variations in attention span become
more noticeable later in the first year, as the frontal lobes of the brain matures and babies
become more capable of regulating attention.
Hereditary and environmental influences on temperament
Environmental influences
- Home environment that siblings share influences positive aspects of temperament, like
smiling, sociability and soothability.
- Negatively toned temperamental attributes are shaped by nonshared environmental
influences - environment that siblings do not share and that makes them dissimilar.
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