Chapter 6 - Emotional and DevelopmentalAttachment
Early emotional development:
a) subjective reactions to the environment
b) usually experienced cognitively as either pleasant or unpleasant
c) generally accompanied by some form of physiological arousal
d) often communicated to others by some behaviour or action
Why are emotions important:
Many functions: letting others know how we feel, success in communicating and leaning
to interpret other peoples emotions is linked with our social success
- emotions are linked to childrens mental and physical health as well.
- cortical - biological marker of stress
Primary & Secondary Emotions:
Primary: fear, joy, disgust, surprise, sadness, interest. Emerge early in life and do not
require introspection or self-reflection.
Secondary: (self-conscious emotions) pride, shame, guilt, jealousy, embarrassment. These
emerge later in development and depend on our sense of self and our awareness of other
individuals reactions to our actions
Perspectives on Emotional Development:
- Child’s emotional development is influenced by many factors: genetic inheritance,
conditions of the environment, interaction with family members and peers
Three theoretical perspectives on emotional development:
1. Genetic-maturation perspective:
- Emotions are best seen as products of biological factors.
- individual differences in temperament play a central role in how children react to
emotionally arousing situations and how well they are able to regulate their reactions
- identical twins show greater similarity than fraternal twins (from first smiles to amount
of smiling) Studies of smiling in premature infants support the role of genetic-
maturational factors in the onset of smiling. The normal conceptual age is 40 weeks, and
most full term babies begin to smile 6 weeks after they are born. Premature infants
usually do not smile until 12 weeks after birth (which for them is 46 weeks after
- Acertain amount of physical maturation and social stimulation must occur before a
baby smiles. Genetics + environment
- negative emotions such as fear supported by twins and cross cultural studies. Identical
twins are more similar than fraternal twins in their fear reactions
2. Learning Perspective:
- good at explaining individual differences in emotional expression. Different emotional
expressions have different onsets, frequencies, and intensities in different children
- when adults, esp caregivers, respond to a baby’s smile in a + way, they smile more - Learning experience can also elicit + reinforce fear responses.
(going to the docs and getting a shot, climbing a ladder then falling, seeing mom react to
bee) -- depends on what the baby has learned
3. The Functionalist Perspective
- emotions help serve to help us achieve our goals and adapt to our environment,
emphasizes the role of emotions in establishing and maintaining social relationships + as
the role the social cues play in regulating our emotional perceptions + expressions
- development? Purpose of emotion is to help us achieve goals. Make a new friend (joy,
hope) stay out of danger (fear) - emotions aroused help us reach our goals
- Social nature of emotions: use info provided by other’s emotional signals to guide our
behaviour. Evaluate the situation and use the feedback from others as a guide (potential
friend frowns at you - make a new friend)
- memories from the past = guide in shaping how the child will respond emotionally to a
The Development of Emotional Expressions
Infant facial coding: changes in a baby’s facial expressions and bodily movements.
Finely differentiated scores to different parts of the face and to specific movement
patterns. Use the scores to judge whether the infant has displayed a particular emotion
(MAX coding system)
Development of Primary Emotions:
Positive Primary Emotions: Smiling & Laughter:
Reflex or simple smiles:
Usually spontaneous and appear to depend on the infants internal sate but the exact
nature of the internal stimulus is unknown. (Anewborn infants smile, which appears to
reflect some internal stimulus, such as a change in the infants level of arousal, rather than
external stimulus, such as a persons behaviour)
these smiles have a good purpose = caregivers interpret them and it encourages them
to talk/cuddle with the baby, smiles = adaptive value for the baby (attention and
between 3-8 weeks, baby’s start to smile to external events - faces, voices, light,
bouncing. Interest in people & faces & high pitched voice
baby reacts to a familiar face more than a strangers. Special smile for their mothers =
Duchenne smiles - upturn mouth + wrinkles around the eyes, making the whole face light
up with pleasure. Display smile - during play. Duchene smile + jaw drop.
- not all babies at the same with smile frequency to caregivers.
- social responsiveness of the baby’s environment is a factor
- gender: newborn period - girls show more spontaneous smile than boys.
Teenage girls smile more than teenage boys. Girls may be genetically better prepared for
social interaction than boys because smiling draws others to them (supports the genetic-
maturational perspective)Also: parents expect more emotions from girls, which suggest
genetics + environment factors
national, ethnic, and gender differences in smiling - ethnicity difference = consistent with the finding thatAfrican american parents
treat their boys and girls more similarly than EuropeanAmerican parents
laughing (infants become skilled at 4 months) - is more useful in maintaining the
baby’s well being. Positive emotion
Experiment: visual, tactile, auditory, and social-behaviour stimuli. Ex: human mask,
disappearing object, bouncing on knee.
- 7 months = laugh at visual, tactile, social events but auditory remain stable. The
nature of the stimuli changes as the child develops. 7+ months, both social and tactile
stimuli begin to be less effective, but response to visual stimuli continues to increase. End
of first year = respond to more social games, visual displays, etc in which they can
participate. End of first year and throughout second year - smile and laugh at activities
they created themselves. As they grow older, laughing increases and becomes a social
event. In one study of 3-5 year olds, 95% of laughter occurred in the presence of other
children and adults.
Negative Primary Emotions: Fear, Anger, and Sadness
Negative emotional response called fear of strangers evolves more slowly than the
positive emotional expressions.
Age of 3 months: infants show wariness, in which they respond with distress to an event
that includes both familiar and unfamiliar aspects and which they therefore cannot
comprehend and assimilate. consistent with cognitive perspective on emotional
7-9 months old: babies show true fear, which is an immediate negative reaction to an
event that has specific meaning for them (seeing a face of a stranger)
4 months: smile less at strangers than they do mothers - showing early signs of
recognizing faces. First compare, look sober, then show distress.
Stranger distress: fear of strangers that typically emerges in infants around the age of 9
months. Developmental milestone. Not inevitable and universal.
whether a baby is fearful depends on a lot of things: who the stranger is, how she
behaves, the setting, and child’s age. Contextual factors help determine the way a baby
will react to a stranger.
Social referencing: the process of reading emotional cues in other to help determine how
to act in an uncertain situation (functionalist perspective)
- as infants develop, they are more likely to look at their mothers face than other parts of
her body. Infants check with their mothers before they act.
- another contextual factor is the degree to which the situation allows the infant some
control over the extent and pace of the interaction . (When babies could control the noise
and movement of a toy monkey or predict the noise, 1 yr olds were less fearful.
Characteristic of the stranger matters too - less afraid of infants than adults
Size or facial features? Ex: confronted with three strangers - adult, midget, and child
more fearful of the adult midget than the child. Size is less important than faces and babies react more negatively to adult faces than child’s.
Strangers behaviour also affects the degree of distress (active friendly stranger - little
Separation fear: infants distress reaction to being separated from his or her mother, peaks
at about 15 months of age. Universal and present in all cultures.
Anger & Sadness:
- early infancy = not clear that young infants emotional expressions are the same as what
seem to be analogous adult expressions or even that infants are expressing the same sets
of feelings (ex: what looks like anger may just be distress)
Carroll Izard -- newborns do express specific emotions.
1 negative expressions that appear are startle, disgust, and distress that seem
unrelated to external events. 2.5/3 months old they being to show anger, interest, surprise,
- infants usually display anger, in response to particular external events. Babies respond
to emotion provocations in predictable ways at specific ages and anger is elicited by pain
- sadness is a reaction to pain, hunger, or lack of control, but occurs less often than anger.
Babies = sad when there are breakdowns in parent-infant communications.
-- with positive emotions, anger and sadness are effective emotional signals for eliciting
care and comfort from adults and therefore serve an important evolutionary function that
promotes the survival of the infant
Development of Secondary Emotions: Pride, Shame, Guilt, and Jealousy
- these motions require the ability to differentiate and integrate the roles of many factors
in a situation and often includes the role of personal responsibility.
- emerge toward the middle of 2 year.
Pride & Shame:
- need to be able to differentiate easy and difficult, success and failure
- by 3, feel pride more if they succeeded at a hard task rather than an easy one. More
shame if they failed an easy task
- childrens understanding of pride depends on their ability to entertain multiple emotions
Ex: told stories to 7, 10, 18 year olds involving accomplishments that individuals
achieved either by their own efforts or by luck and then asked questions about the stories.
7 = proud. 10 & 18 = feeling proud can only come from own efforts, not luck or chance.
- middle childhood.
- asking 6-9 year old children to explain a situation where they felt guilty. Older children
had a clear understanding + could relate it to personal situations
- young children focus on simple outcomes, older children focus on the role of personal
responsibility - unless they themselves caused the outcome, they need not feel guilty - clear that the development of specific emotions is closely related to cognitive advances
as the ability to understand causality and personal responsibility
-- jealously can occur early as 1 yr
- one study: signs of jealousy when mothers directed their attn away from their child
toward an infant sized doll, newborn infant or peers.
- jealously is a social emotion: occurs among three people who have established
important social relationships.
- jealousy among younger (twelve months) and older *2-6 years* children
-- researchers found that in response to a jealousy provoking situation, younger children
display distress & older showed sadness and anger
Jealous reactions are costly: less able to focus on their play activities
-- experience and expression of jealously depend on the nature of the relationship in
which this unpleasant emotion arises -- secure and trusting relationship with parents,
jealously btwn siblings is less. When parents are in a + marriage, children are less likely
to be jealous.Also, close relationships between child and parent and between the parents
themselves serve as a protective factor in jealously in children
Individual differences in emotions:
Babies who are more sociable show less wariness in encounters with strangers than
less sociable infants
Example: researcher had infants confront unfamiliar objects and a stranger with their
mother near by. The bold group of infants approached the object and the stranger whereas
the shy group approached the toy only
- subset of children: behaviorally inhibited = tend to be shy, fearful, and introverted, often
avoiding their peers. They tend to show atypical physiological reactions (rapid heart
rates) in stressful situations. Warm & supportive parents can reduce fearfulness and
lessen the shy and fearful qualities
-- individual differences in + and - emotionality are related to children’s adjustment
- negative emotions = depressed and conduct problems. Positive emotions = high self
esteem & social competence
Recognizing emotions in others:
children aged 3-6 months, babies are exposed to facial expressions a lot
- mother infant face to face interactions, babies may develop the ability to recognize
positive emotions such as joy earlier than they can recognize negative such as anger
-- babies may develop the ability to recognize joy earlier than they can recognize anger.
Study: babies btwn 4-6 months looked longer at a face showing an expression of joy than
someone showing anger. (consistent with the functionalist perspective - recognize joy
before anger has functional value for a baby
- the nature of early experience alters children’s ability to recognize emotions, as the
learning perspective on emotional development would predict
Ex: 3.5 month year olds recognize their mothers emotions quicker than fathers + strangers
- both quality and quantity of interactions between parents and infants make a diff in the
childs ability to recognize emotions
- harder for babies to learn to recognize expressions of emotions in others than it is for
them to learn to express emotions themselves
Emotional Regulation and Emotional Display Rules
-- learning to how to regulate the expression of their emotions is a major challenge for
infants and children
- preschool years: several things show greater self control over emotions.
Emotional expressions become less. Ex: baby may cry a lot whereas an older child who
didn’t get to eat will pout and complain. Emotional regulation abilities are imp predictors
of later adjustment. (children in preschool who were better at regulating their anger
showed less externalizing behaviour when they entered school: those who were able to
distract themselves by shifting attn away from the frustrating situation were less
aggressive and disruptive in kindergarten)
Emotional display rule: rules that dictate which emotions one may appropriately display
in particular situations.
-- learning to separate the visible expression of an emotion from its inner experience
- following social norms: children 8-10 years learn to smile even when they feel unhappy,
mask amusement when they know they shouldn’t laugh
- in early attempts to follow rules, children typically mirror others behaviours by
exaggerating or minimizing their emotional displays.
- Culture plays an important role in how children appraise situations, communicate
emotions, and act on their feelings. Culture and religious customs and values shape the
ways that children react to emotionally upsetting events. Competence in implementing
these rules is linked with better social relationships w/ peers.
How children think about emotions:
Matching emotions to situations: emotional scripts:
Emotional Script: a complex scheme that enables a child to identify the emotional
reaction that is likely to accompany a particular sort of event
Study: Borke told 3&4 year old children simple stories about such things as getting lost
in the woods or having a fight or going to a party & asked them to tell her the emotons
they thought the characters in the different stories would feel. Easily said some stories
would lead to happiness easily, good at sadness or anger. Later research - 3-4 year old
children could describe situations that evoked other emotions such as excitement,
surprise, and being scared.
-- emotional scripts gain complexity as they mature
- culture matters: children in the U.S. react to a request to stop playing and go to bed with
anger, but first graders in Nepal are happy with the same request.
- autistic children are less proficient in their understanding of emotions compared to
normal functioning children
Multiple Emotions, Multiple Causes: -- children’s ability to understand and express their knowledge of emotions emerges
slowly and lags well behind their capacity to experience ambivalent emotions
Harter and Buddin:
4-6 : one emotion at a time
6-8: two emotions of the same type occurring at the same time (mad + upset)
8-9: two distinct emotions in response to different situations at the same time (bored
nothing to do, mad mom punished me)
10: two opposing feelings where the events are diff or diff aspects of the same situation
(worrying about soccer game, happy cause I got aAin math. Mad my bro hit me, happy
my dad let me hit him back)
11+: understand that the same event can cause opposing feelings (happy that I got a
present, sad that it wasn’t what I wanted)
children learn to consider more and more aspects of an emotion-related situation, such
as desires, goals and intentions of the people involved. They realize that people’s
emotional expressions are produced by inner states and are not responsive solely to the
characteristics of the situation. (wont be mad if I know the person didn’t mean to do it,
but younger kids don’t look it like that)
The family’s role in emotional development
• Three ways in which families influence children’s emotions:
• Family members’ own patterns of emotional expressiveness serve as
models for the child’s emotional expressiveness
• Parents’ and siblings’ specific reactions to children’s emotions
encourage or discourage certain patterns of emotional expressiveness
• Parents often act as emotional coaches by talking about emotions and
explaining and exploring children’s understanding of their own and
other people’s emotional responses
• Studies have shown similarities between parents and their children in both
level of emotional expressiveness and types of emotions typically displayed
• Parental reactions also contribute to children’s emotional development
• Dismissive/punitive parents fail to use emotional moments