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PSYB32H3 Lecture Notes - Smile, Social Emotions, 18 Months

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Mark Schmuckler

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Early emotional development
-emotions : subjective reactions to something in the environment that are usually experienced
cognitively as either pleasant or unpleasant that are generally accompanied by physiological
changes and that are often expressed in some form of visible behavior
Why are emotions important
-emotions are a means of letting others know how we fell and in communicating our emotions
and learning to interpret other people’s emotions we achieve social success
-emotions are linked to children’s mental and physical health as well
-physical health suffers too when emotional development goes wrong
Primary and secondary emotions
-primary emotions- fear, joy, disgust, surprise, sadness and interest occur early in life do not
need self reflection
-secondary emotion- pride, jealousy, shame guilt and embarrassment later in dev and depend
on our sense of self and our awareness of other individual’ reactions to our actions
Perspectives on emotional development
-a child’s emotional dev is influenced by her genetic inheritance, the conditions of the enviro
into which she is born her interactions with fam members and later with peers
The genetic maturational perspective
-emotions are best seen as products of biological factors
-individual differences in temperament play a central role in how intensely children react to
emotionally arousing situations and in how well they are able to regulate their reactions
-identical twisn show greater similarity than fraternal twins in both the earliest times of their
first smiles and the amount of smiling in which each engages
-babies begin to smile about 6weeks after they are born
-certain amount of physical maturation and social stimulation must occur before a baby is ready
to start smiling
Learning perspective
-the frequency with which children smile and laugh seems to vary with the nature of the
environment in which they are raised
-parents can help their children learn to manage and understand their emotions by rewarding
only certain emotional displays
-parents who respond with enthusiasm to their smiling infant will tend to encourage him to
smile more
-children may learn other fears through operant conditioning when one of their own behaviors
is followed by a consequence
-they can learn other fear by simply observing others ex: a child may watch her mother react
fearfully to a bee and later imitate her mothers reaction

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The functionalist perspective
-emotions serve to help us achieve our goals and adapt to our environment, the role of
emotions in establishing and maintaining social relationships
-it incorporates many features of the learning perspective
-the purpose of emotion is to help us achieve our goals
-goals arouse emotions ex: the emotion of fear may lead us to flee the dangerous situation,
enabling us to achieve the goal of self preservation
-it also recognizes the social nature of emotions, we use info provided by others emotional
signals to guide our own behavior ex: trying to make friends, someone smiles at you then you
will react and talk to them
-memories of the past serve as a guide in shaping how the child will respond emotionally to a
-emotions regulate children’s behavior and enhance their adaptation to their environment ex:
people always negative to you then you wont try as hard to make friends
-different theories are useful in answering different questions
The development of emotional expressions
-how researchers can distinguish among infants’ expressions of all emotions is by means of
coding systems that pay careful attention to change in a baby’s facial expression and bodily
-systems assign finely differentiated scores to different parts of the face and to specific infant
movement patterns
-coding systems for infant expressions now in use, the Maximally Discriminative facial
movement (MAX coding system)
Development of primary emotions
Positive primary emotions: smiling and laughter
-reflex or simple smiles are usually spontaneous and appear to depend on the infant’s internal
state and they serve a good purpose
-smiles may have adaptive value for the baby, ensuring critical caregiver attention and
stimulation, smiles becomes means of communication
-infants smiles almost exclusively at the human face
-smiling behavior follows a similar pattern: babies smile at the eyes, then the mouth, then the
entire face and facial expression
-3 months start to smile more selectively at familiar faces
-functionalist perspective: infant smiles become more discriminating as babies develop
-10 month old generally reserved special kind of smile for their mothers, baby display genuine
smiles for their mothers
- there are individual differences in the amount of smiling a baby does, some of these
differences have to do with social responsiveness of the baby’s enviro
-gender is related to baby’s smiling: girls generally show more spontaneous smiles than boys,
teenage girls smile more than teen boys. Girls may be genetically better prepared for social

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interaction than boys because their greater tendency to smile more often draws others to them
(supports genetic maturational perspective)
-there are national ethnic and gender differences in smiling
-canada and the US show larger gender differences in smiling, this may be because there are
more stereotypes here compared to other countries where there is no diff in men and woman
smiling because they see them as equal
-ethnicity difference is consistent with findings that African American parents treat boys and
girls more similarly than European parents
-laughter plays a very important role in caregiver infant interaction
-laughter elicited in babies between 4 and 12 months of age by a wide array of visual tactile
auditory and social behavioral stimuli
-babies are increasingly likely to laugh at visual tactile and social events but their reaction to
auditory stimulation remain stable
-end of 1st year babies respond more to social games visual displays and other activities in
which they can participate 2nd yr infants increasingly smile and laugh in response to activities
that they create themselves
-as children grow older laughing increases and becomes more of a social event
Negative primary emotions: fear anger and sadness
-fear of strangers evolves more slowly than positive emotional expression
-2 phase in the emergence of fear:3 months, infants show wariness where they respond with
distress to an even that includes both familiar and unfamiliar aspects which they therefore
cannot comprehend and assimilate.
-7-9 months olds show true fear immediate negative reaction to an event that has specific
meaning to them, such as seeing the face of a total stranger
-4months babies smile less at unfamiliar adults
-often they look longer at a stranger than at a familiar person and if the mother is present they
will frequently look back and forth between her and the stranger as if comparing them
-stranger distress: a fear of strangers that typically emerges in infants around the age of 9
-functionalist perspective on emotional dev, contextual factors help determine the way the
infant will react to a stranger
-when babes meet strangers in their own homes they show less stranger fear than when
encountering unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar setting such as a researcher’s lab
-when a baby sees his mother reacting positively to a stranger he tends to follow suit and
responds much more positively smiling more approaching the stranger and offering his toys
-social referencing: the process of reading emotional cues in others to help determine how to
act in an uncertain situation
-infants grow also in their tendency to check with their mothers before they act
-younger infants often act first and look later a strategy that could lead to trouble in dangerous
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