PSYC18 Psychology of Emotion
Chapter 11 – Individual Differences and Personality
People differ in their means & success of managing/regulating their emotions.
Regulation begins with the modulation of emotional expression – reflects individual differences in
intensity, frequency, and duration of emotions.
1 fostered by caregiver (e.g. soothing a crying child), then internalized into child (e.g. soothes self).
Stages for Emotional Regulation:
1) Achieving stability in functioning
- Attachment to close, emotionally available caregiver is central issue.
2) Development of self-esteem/regulation
- Notion of autonomous self develops.
Regulation affects every stage of emotion process – i.e. appraisal, evaluation, & suppression, as well as
expression & actions.
Responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions.
Children’s emotionality/regulation before school predicted prosocial behaviour in school.
Successful regulation is not accomplished by suppression
Woman who suppressed unpleasant film clip had higher BP, and reduced rapport.
Reappraisal & attention-shifting are the best approaches to regulate emotions.
As we get older:
Less regulation correlated with greater liability to depression/problem behaviour in adolescence.
Motivation increases to derive emotional meaning from life, rather than expand emotional horizons.
Despite social losses/health changes, emotional regulation improves.
Styles of attachment:
The strange situation test briefly separates infant from caregiver to observe their emotional reaction.
This test identified 3 attachment styles:
1) Securely attached distressed when caregiver leaves, but interact/comforted when they return.
- Show both positive & negative behaviours, & neutrality; variety of emotions responded to.
2) Ambivalently attached want to be near caregivers upon return, but not comforted – show angry
& resistant behaviour
- More negative emotions (e.g. anger); inconsistently responded to.
3) Avoidantly attached no effort to interact when caregivers return.
- Show fewer emotions; repeated rejections.
4) Disoriented/disorganized contradictory behaviours upon caregiver’s return.
- Higher prevalence in low SES/depression mothers, and abused children.
They may reflect history of caregiver interaction – i.e. responsiveness to child’s emotions.
There are cultural variations to this. Internal working models of attachment:
These are mental models of what to expect in an intimate relationship
Each intimate relationship leaves an imprint – a template for how to act in subsequent relationships
Adults asked to think about early childhood experiences fall into 3 categories:
1) Autonomous talk about childhood with objectivity, balance & coherence.
2) Preoccupied incoherent accounts, and overwhelmed by memories of traumatic childhood.
3) Dismissing distanced account, inability to recall event, little emotion.
Adults have measurable styles, and these seem to be passed on to their offspring.
Study 72% Children who took the strange situation test that were followed up 21 years later
maintained their style of secure vs. insecure attachment into adulthood.
Poverty seems to produce high rates of changes from secure to insecure attachment styles.
Another study measures of attachment at age 6 & 16 were predictive of relationship security at
age 21-22 while the strange situation test (at infancy) was not.
- Suggests that although continuities of attachment styles do occur, they do not imply that
internal working models of relating are rigid in programming behaviour.
Influences on attachment
Mothers who responded rapidly/consistently to baby made them more likely to be secure-type.
There seems to be no genetic influence on attachment style.
Intergenerational transmission of attachment style is most likely.
Effects of attachment
Secure-type child better relationships & problem solving skills, and more sociable & compliant
Anxious-type more likely to interpret events in pessimistic/threatening fashion.
Warmth and the Socialization of Emotions
Parental warmth & affection also shown to influence aspects of child’s development.
Predicted success of childhood friendships.
In warm atmosphere, not only is the mother responsive; so is the child mutual responsiveness.
Can switch their own goals to mutual ones shared with parents.
Intergenerational effect of warmth has been shown.
Synchronizing interactions keeping in tune/time with baby’s behaviour.
More likely to produce secure-type babies.
Learning to speak about emotions:
Emotional communication teaches child about what events appropriately elicit emotions with
regards to social norms. Develops understanding of own & other’s internal experiences.
Children given better info about internal states of others are better able to respond with empathy.
Maltreatment reduces ability to voice internal states in children.
Effects of modelling:
A parent behaving in some manner acts as a model to which a child can perform the same behaviours.
Helpful in passing messages about what emotions to display and how. Mothers show much more enjoyment than anger or sadness to their babies.
- Children exposed to more parental anger also d