CHAPTER 10 – EMOTIONALTEMPERAMENT
Functions of Emotions
Emotion is a rapid appraisal of the personal significance of the situation, which
pre- pares you for action.
o It expresses your readiness to maintain, or change your relation to the environment
on a matter of importance to you.
Functionalist approach to emotion, emphasizing that the broad function of
emotions is to energize behavior aimed at attaining personal goals
o They believe that emotions are central in all our endeavors—cognitive processing,
social behavior, and even physical health.
Emotional and Cognitive Processing
High anxiety impairs thinking, especially on complex tasks, by diverting attention
from cognitive processing to task-irrelevant threatening stimuli and worrisome thoughts.
Emotions affect memory.
Emotions and Social Behavior
Children’s emotions affect the behavior of others and vice versa.
Older kids use elders as a guide for hot to respond. Through social referencing,
young children learn how to behave in everyday situations.
Emotions and Health
Stress elevates heart rate and blood pressure and depresses the immune response—
reactions that may explain its relationship with cardiovascular disease, infectious illness,
and several forms of cancer.
Stress also reduces digestive activity as blood flows to the brain, heart, and
extremities to mobilize the body for action. Consequently, it can lead to gastrointestinal
difficulties, including, diarrhea, colitis, and ulcers.
Compared with healthy age mates who had been adopted shortly after birth,
physically ill, emotionally deprived children showed extreme reactivity to stress, as
indicated by high concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol—a physiological response
linked to persistent illness and learning and behavior problems, including deficits in
concentration and control of anger.
o The longer the children spent in orphanage care, the higher their cortisol levels
o In other cases some children had very low cortisol levels, which is associated with
interfering the growth hormone. Parental depression and Child development
o In the weeks after birth, infants of depressed mothers sleep poorly, are less attentive
to their surroundings, and have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol
o The more stressors in a parent’s life, the more the child suffers with the parent.
o The baby can show symptoms such as- delays in motor and mental development, an
irritable mood, and attachment difficulties.
o Paternal depression is also linked to dissatisfaction with marriage and family life
after childbirth and to other life stressors, including job loss and divorce
Sense of self-efficacy—confidence baby’s show in their own ability to control events
in their surroundings – occurs at the response of novel things.
Self-conscious emotions that have to do with evaluating the self ’s goodness or
badness in relation to standards for morality, social behavior, and task mastery.
Emotional self-regulation, children must master their culture’s rules for when and
how to convey emotion.
Development of Emotional Expression
Dynamic systems perspective, emotional expressions vary with the person’s
developing capacities, goals, and context.
o Children coordinate separate skills into more effective, emotionally expressive
systems as the central nervous system develops and the child’s goals and experiences
Basic emotions—happiness, interest, surprise, fear, anger, and sadness, disgust—
are universal in humans and other primates and have a long evolutionary history of
Babies’ earliest emotional life consists of: attraction to pleasant stimuli and
withdrawal from unpleasant stimuli.
Emotions gradually become more well-organized and specific- providing more
information to the babies’internal state.
o Infants smile when they achieve new skills. o Happiness binds parent and child into a warm, supportive relationship that fosters
the infant’s developing competencies.
o Social smile: parent’s communication evokes a broad grin on infants.
o Laughter reflects faster processing of information than smile.
Anger and Sadness:
o Angry reactions increase with age because infants want to control their own actions
and the effects they produce and will purposefully try to change an undesirable situation.
o Anger occurs more when obtaining desired objects, or when a caregiver causes
o Sadness occurs when sadness occurs often when infants are deprived of a familiar,
loving care- giver or when caregiver–infant communication is seriously disrupted.
o Most familiar fear is towards strangers- stranger anxiety.
The stranger’s warm actions can reduce the fear.
o Infant-rearing practices can modify stranger anxiety.
Among Efe community, stranger anxiety is low because babies are passed from one
adult to another.
Infants use the familiar caregiver as a secure base, or point from which to explore,
venturing into the environment and then returning for emotional support.
Self-Conscious emotions are higher-order set of feelings, including guilt, shame,
embarrassment, envy, and pride.
o Each involves injury to or enhancement of our sense of self.
These emotions occur around the ages of 18-24 months.
Besides self-awareness, self-conscious emotions also require adult instruction in
when to feel proud, ashamed or guilty.
o In Western individualistic nations, most children are taught to feel pride over
personal achievement. o In collectivist cultures such as China and Japan, calling attention to purely personal
success evokes embarrassment and self-effacement.
By age 3, self-conscious emotions are clearly linked to self-evaluation
Preschoolers: more pride when succeeding in difficult tasks and shame when failing
Among Western children, intense shame is associated with feelings of personal
inadequacy (I’m stupid).
Guilt helps children resist harmful impulses, and it motivates a misbehaving child to
repair the damage and behave more considerately. But overwhelming guilt is associated
with depressive symptoms.
Emotional self-regulation refers to the strategies we use to adjust our emotional
state to a comfortable level of intensity so we can accomplish our goals.
o It requires attention focusing and shifting.
Emotional self-regulation requires voluntary, effortful management of emotions.
o In the early months when infants are not able to control their emotional states, they
get overwhelmed when they have intense emotions and they rely on the caregivers to
soothe them. As a result, the babies’tolerance for stimulation increases.
o If children are able to verbalize emotional self-regulation strategies, they will have
fewer emotional outbursts.
o Warm, patient parents who use verbal guidance, including suggesting and
explaining strategies and prompting children to generate their own, strengthen children’s
capacity to handle stress
Such children are more likely to use private speech to regulate emotion.
o When parents rarely express positive emotion, and have difficulty controlling their
own anger, children have continuing problems in managing emotion.
o Children who experience negative emotion intensely have difficulty shifting their
attention away from disturbing events. Middle Childhood andAdolescence:
o Fear is shaped partly by the culture.
For example in Chinese children, there is more fear of adult criticism because in
their culture social standards are highly valued.
o By age 10: In problem-centered coping, they appraise the situation as changeable,
identify the difficulty, and decide what to do about it. If problem solving does not work,
they engage in emotion-centered coping, which is internal, private, and aimed at
controlling distress when little can be done about an outcome.
o Emotional self-efficacy— a feeling of being in control of their emotional
Occurs when emotional self-regulation has developed well.
Acquiring Emotional Display Rules
At first, children modify emotional expressions to serve personal needs, and they
exaggerate their true feelings. Soon, they learn to restrain their expressive behavior and
substitute other reactions, such as smiling when feeling anxious or disappointed.
All societies have emotional display rules that specify when, where, and how it is
appropriate to express emotions.
Females as emotionally expressive and males as emotionally controlled.
By age 3, children are able to self regulate emotion- being happy at the sight of an
unwanted gift. They are less likely to be able to show fake anger, sadness, or disgust.
Through interacting with parents, teachers, and peers, children learn how to express
negative emotion in ways likely to evoke a desired response from others. School-age
children increasingly prefer verbal strategies to crying, sulking, or aggression.
Collectivist cultures place particular emphasis on emotional display rules,
Hindu mothers reported that they often teach their children how to control their
emotional behavior, whereas Buddhist mothers pointed to the value their religion places on
a calm, peaceful disposition.
o Hindu children were angrier and Buddhist children were more ok.
Understanding and Responding to the Emotions of Others
Emotional contagion: automatic response of babies to caregivers depending on the
reaction they receive. Others believe that this response is acquired through operant conditioning- learning
that a smile will bring pleasurable response.
Around 3 to 4 months, infants can match the emotion in a voice with the
appropriate face of a speaking person.
From 5 months on, infants perceive facial expressions as organized patterns.
Social referencing— relying on another person’s emotional reaction to appraise an
o Occurs around 8-10 months when infants start to evaluate unfamiliar objects,
people and events.
The voice conveys both emotional and verbal information
As recall memory and language skills improve, and as parents’ warnings to their
newly walking youngsters become more frequent and intense, babies retain these emotional
messages over longer time intervals.
14 and 18 month olds tested for their ability to appreciate others’ emotional
reactions. 14 month olds chose their preference but the 18 month olds chose the preference
of the person.
Toddlers use the emotional signals to evaluate the safety and security of their
surroundings, to guide their own actions, and to gather information about others’intentions
Emotional Understanding in Childhood
Cognitive development and emotional understanding:
o By age 4 to 5, they correctly judge the causes of many basic emotions.
They realize that thinking and feeling are interconnected
o In middle childhood, ability to consider conflicting cues when explaining others’
o Preschoolers deny that two emotions can occur at the same time.
Social Experience and Emotional Understanding
o The more mothers label emotions, explain them, and express warmth and enthusiasm when conversing with preschoolers, the more “emotion words” children use
and the better developed their emotional understanding.
o For preschoolers, explanations are more important.
o As preschoolers learn about emotions, the take part in make-believe play, which in
turn contributes to emotional understanding.
o Knowledge about emotions helps children greatly in their efforts to get along with
Empathy and Sympathy
Empathy involves a complex interaction of cognition and affect: the ability to
detect different emotions, to take another’s emotional perspective, and to feel with that
person, or respond emotionally in a similar way.
o Empathy is an important motivator of pro-social, or altruistic, behavior—actions
that benefit another person without any expected reward for the self.
Sympathy—feelings of concern or sorrow for another’s plight.
Development of Empathy:
o Like self-conscious emotions, true empathy requires children to understand that the
self is distinct from other people.
o As self-awareness strengthens at the end of the second year, toddlers begin to
o Affective perspective taking—inferringhow another feels by imagining himself or
herself in that person’s place.
Older toddlers are able to do this.
o Children rely more on words for empathy when language advances.
o Increases during elementary years.
o During late childhood and adolescence, perspective taking permits to empathize not
only on the current situation but also general life situation.
o Empathy is moderately heritable.
o Children who are sociable, assertive, and good at regulating emotion are more
likely than poor emotion regulators to empathize with others’ distress, display sympathetic concern, and engage in pro-social behavior, helping, sharing, and comforting others in
o Aggressive children’s high hostility, weakened capacity to take another’s
perspective, and impulsive acting out of negative feelings blunt their capacity for empathy
o Shy children may not be sympathetic because they might feel anxiety over someone
o Empathy is related to EEG brain-wave activity—a mild increase in the left
hemisphere (which houses positive emotion) among children showing facial signs of
o EEG in the right hemisphere shows that it houses negative emotions- (no empathy)
o When parents show empathy and concern to their youngsters, it is more likely that
the children will react in a concerned way to others.
o Angry, punitive parenting disrupts empathy and sympathy at an early age.
Temperament and Development
Temperament—early-appearing, stable individual differences in reactivity and
self-regulation. Reactivity refers to quickness and intensity of emotional arousal, attention,
and motor action. Self-regulation, as we have seen, refers to strategies that modify that
Temperament can increase a child’s chances of experiencing psychological
problems or, alternatively, protect a child from the negative effects of a stressful home life.
The Structure of Temperament
The easy child, (40%),