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
- 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”.
1 Recognizing and interpreting emotions
- 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
- 6-9 year olds begin to understand that a person can experience more than one emotion at the
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,
- 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
- 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
- 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.
2 Cultural influences
- In Canada and USA, if children are shy they are at a social disadvantage self conscious -
chances of getting married later and having children later
- In China, complete opposite, shy and quiet children are seen as socially mature by peers and
- Shy Swedish men married later just like shy American men but it did not affect the shy
Swedish men’s career but in Canada and United States, shy men have a harder time finding a
- Swedish women had no problem in marrying and having children. They completed fewer
years of school. Married men with not a lot of education either economic disadvantage.
- Shy American women are well educated and marry successful men.
Stability of temperament
- Behavioral inhibition: Temperamental attribute reflecting one’s tendency to withdraw from
unfamiliar people or situations.
- Deep biological roots
Early temperamental profiles and later development
- Easy temperament: 40% - easygoing children, typically in a positive mood, quite open and
adaptable to new experiences. Their habits are regular and predictable.
- Difficult temperament: 10% - Difficult children are active, irritable, and irregular in their
habits. They often react very vigorously to changes in routine and are very slow to adapt to
new persons or situations.
- Slow-to-warm-up temperament: 15% - These children are quite inactive, somewhat
moody, and can be slow to adapt to new persons and situations. But, unlike difficult children,
they typically respond to novelty in mildly negative ways. (Resist cuddling by turning way
instead of kicking and screaming)
Children rearing and temperament
- Goodness of fit: Thomas and Chess’s notion that development is likely to be optimized
when parents’ child-rearing practices are sensitively adapted to the child’s temperamental
Attachment and development
- Attachment: A close emotional relationship between two persons, characterized by mutual
affection and a desire to maintain proximity.
Attachments are reciprocal relationships
Establishment of interactional synchrony
- Synchronized routines: Generally harmonious interactions between 2 persons in which
participants adjust their behavior in responses to the partner’s feelings and behaviors.
- Between 4-9 weeks of age, children grow interest in their mother’s faces.
- By 2-3 months, they are beginning to understand some simple contingencies as well. (When
mom smiles, baby smiles)
3 How do infants become attached?
The growth of primary attachments
1. The Asocial Phase (0 - 6 weeks) - Many kinds of social or nonsocial stimuli produce a
favorable reaction. At the end of this period, infants are beginning to show a preference
for social stimuli, such as a smile.
2. The Phase of Indiscriminate Attachments (6 weeks - 7 months) - Infants clearly enjoy
human company but tend to be somewhat indiscriminate: they smile more at people than
at such other lifelike objects as talking puppets, and are likely to fuss whenever ANY
adult puts them down. They enjoy the attention they receive from just about anyone.
3. The Specific Attachment Phase (7 - 9 months) - Infants begin to protest only when
separated from one particular individual, usually the mother. They try to crawl behind
their mother. They become somewhat wary of strangers.
- Secure base: Infant’s use of a caregiver as a base from which to explore the
environment and to which to return for emotional support.
4. The Phase of Multiple Attachments (9 - 18 months) - Become attached to other people,
such as fathers, s