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Konstantine Zakzanis

Chapter 6: Emotional Development and Attachment Early Emotional Development  What are emotions?...well they have several impt aspects as they are: 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?  Emotions have a wide variety of functions in the lives of children 1. Emotions are a means of letting others know how we feel 2. Our success in communicating our emotions and in learning to interpret other people’s emotions Is linked w/ our social success 3. Emotions are linked to children’s mental and physical health o Children who become excessively sad or despondent may develop other problems such as poor concentration and withdrawal from social interaction w/ others- in extreme cases, such children’s self-worth may deteriorate seriously o Physical health suffers too when emotion development goes wrong- children reared in environments in which they are emotionally and socially deprived (like orphanages), often develop later problems w/ the management of stress and anxiety o Even children reared in ostensibly normal homes may suffer impaired physical health when they are exposed to emotional hostility b/w their parents Primary and Secondary Emotions  Primary emotions: emerge early in life and don’t require introspection or self-reflection o E.g. fear, joy, disgust, surprise, sadness and interest  Secondary emotions: emerge later in development and depend on our sense of self and our awareness of other individuals’ reactions to our actions o E.g. pride, shame, guilt, jealousy, and embarrassment Perspectives on Emotional Development  A child’s emotional development is influenced by many factors: o Their genetic inheritance o The conditions of the environment into which they were born o Their interactions w/ family members and w/ peers  There are 3 theoretical perspectives on emotional development: the genetic-maturational, learning, and functionalist perspectives- useful in explaining certain aspects of the child’s development at certain stages in their life The Genetic-Maturational Perspective  According to this 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 twins show greater similarity than fraternal twins in both the earliest times of their first smiles and the amount of smiling in which each engages  Studies of smiling in premature infants support the role of genetic-maturational factors in the onset of smiling o The normal conceptual age (age since conception) of a newborn human is 40weeks, and most full-term babies begin to smile about 6 weeks after they are born, or a conceptual age of 46 weeks. o Premature infants who are born at 34 weeks often don’t smile until 12 weeks after birth, which, for them, is also 46 weeks since conception  A certain amount of physical maturation and social simulation must occur before a baby is ready to start smiling o The interplay b/w genetics and the environment accounts for the timing and form of the behaviour  A genetic-maturational basis for negative emotions, such as fear, is supported y both twin and cross-cultural studies o Again, identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins in their fear reactions to strangers and in their general degree of inhibitedness The Learning Perspective  The learning perspective is particularly useful in explaining individual differences in emotional expression  In general, different emotional expressions have different onsets, frequencies, and intensities in different children o The frequency w/ which children smile and laugh seems to vary w/ the nature of the environment in which they are raised in o Parents have help their children learn to manage and understand their emotions by rewarding only certain emotional displays or they can interfere by being punitive and by dismissing their children’s emotional expressions/experiences  Children may learn other fears through operant conditioning when one of their own behaviours, such as climbing upon a high ladder, is followed by a punishing consequence, such as a painful fall  In all cases, the child’s particular set of fears depends on what they have learned The Functionalist Perspective  According to this theory, emotions serve to help us achieve our goals and adapt to our environment, and it emphasizes the role of emotions in establishing and maintaining social relationships as well as the role that social cues lay in regulating our emotional perception and expressions o This approach incorporates many features of the learning perspective in a unified view of emotional development  How does this perspective approach emotional development? o It assumes that the purpose of emotion is to help us achieve our goals o We all have goals that we try to reach and goals may arouse emotions-in both cases, the emotions aroused help us reach our goals - E.g. 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 o We use info provided by others emotional signals to guide our own behaviour o E.g. the way someone you view as a potential friend reacts emotionally to your social overture will be a critical determinant of how you feel. If she responds positively and smiles, you’ll be happy and carry on, but if she frowns, you’ll probably not be pleased and will try to make friends w/ someone else. So you evaluate the situation and use the feedback from others as a guide  Memories of the past serve as a guide in shaping how the child will respond emotionally to a situation o Children who have routinely been rebuffed by potential friends will be more wary, where as children who have been socially successful will be more confident in this situation The Development of Emotional Expressions  Most parents pay a great deal of attention to their newborn infants’ behaviours and activities, and witnessing displays, such as smiling, frowning, and laughing many times over, they are inclined to agree that infants display a wide range of emotions at a very early age o These mothers based their judgement not only on their babies’ behaviours (facial expressions, vocalizations, body movements) but also on the nature of the situations in which those behaviours occurred. o E.g. a mother who watched her baby staring intently at the mobile above their crib is likely to label the infant’s emotion as “interest”, whereas she might call the emotion expressed by a gurgling, smiling baby “joy”  But relying on mothers’ judgements may not be the best way to approach the issue  Researchers can distinguish infants’ expressions of all these emotions by means of coding systems that pay careful attention to changes in a baby’s facial expressions and bodily movements o These systems assign finely differentiated scores to different parts of the face and to specific infant movement patterns Development of Primary Emotions Positive Primary Emotions: Smiling and Laughter  Reflex smile: a new born infant’s smile, which appears to reflect some internal stimulus, such as a change in the infant’s level of arousal, rather than an external stimulus, such as another person’s behaviour o Reflex smiles are spontaneous but the exact nature of the internal stimulus is as yet unknown.  Most caregivers interpret these smiles as signs of pleasure, and this gives the caregivers pleasure and encourages them to cuddle and talk to the baby  B/w 3-8 weeks of age, infants begin to smile in response not only to internal events but to a wide range of external elicitors, including stimuli such as faces, voices, light touches, and gentle bouncing  Infants are particularly interested in people and faces, and a high-pitched human voice or a combination of voice and face are reliable smile elicitors for babies b/w 2 and 6 months old  As infants grow older, they tend to smile at different aspects of the human face o When 4 week old babies look at human faces, they tend to focus on the eyes, but by the time they’re 8-9 weeks old, they examine the mouth as well  Smiling follows a similar pattern- at first, babies smile at the eyes, then the mouth, and finally the entire face and the factual expression  A baby’s pleasure at watching a familiar face is revealed in other ways as well o E.g. One study found that 10-month olds generally reserved a special kind of smile for their mothers, rarely offering it to strangers…these special smiles were known as Duchenne smiles  Of course, not all babies smile w/ equal frequency at their caregivers because o There are individual differences in the amount of smiling a baby does o Some of these differences have to do w/ the social responsiveness of the baby’s environment - E.g. Israeli infants reared in a family environment smiled more often by thehalf-year than infants raised in either a kibbutz (a communal living arrangement) or an institutions, where the level of social stimulation is presumably lower  Gender is related to babies’ smiling: in the newborn period, at least, girls generally show more spontaneous smiles than boys do and in the teenage period, girls smile more than boys o This higher rate of smiling has led observers to suggest that girls may be genetically better prepared for social interaction than boys b/c their greater frequency to smile more often draws others to them…this supports the genetic- maturational perspective o On the other hand, parents generally elicit and expect more emotions from girls than boys, which suggests that both genetic and environmental factors need to be considered  There are national, ethnic, and gender differences in smiling o E.g. European-Americans males and females differ more in their smiling rates than do African Americans, among whom males and females who smaller differences in their smiling behaviour  Laughter at which infants become quite skilled by the time they’re 4 months old is useful in maintaining the baby’s well-being o If smiling gradually becomes a sign of pleasure, laughter leaves us w/ little doubt of a baby’s positive emotion, and it plays a very impt role in caregiver-infant interaction  As Fig 6-1 (pg. 203) shows that up to about 7 months old, babies are increasingly likely to laugh at visual, tactile, and social events, but their reactions to auditory stimulation remain stable o However, the nature of the stimuli that elicit laughter changes as the child develops o From 7 months onward, both social and tactile stimuli begin to be less effective, but response to visual stimuli continues to increase o Toward the end of the 1 year, babies respond more to social games, visual displays, and other activities in which they can participate such as tug of war w/ a blanket Negative Primary Emotions: Fear, Anger, and Sadness Fear  The negative emotional response called fear of strangers evolves more slowly than the positive emotional expressions  Sroufe (1996) distinguished 2 phases in the emergence of fear 1. At about 3 months of age, Sroufe maintains, infants show wariness, in which they respond w/ distress to an event that includes both familiar and unfamiliar aspects and which they therefore cannot comprehend and assimilate 2. By the time they are 7-9months old, babies show true fear, which is an immediate negative reaction to an event that has specific meaning for the, such as seeing the face of a total stranger  Even at 4 months of age, babies smile less at unfamiliar adults than they do at their mothers, showing early signs that they recognize familiar people but they aren’t distressed by the presence of a stranger  In fact, they show greater interest in novel people as well as novel objects o 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 b/w her face and the stranger’s, as if comparing them  Then at about 5 months, the earlier reaction of gaze and interest starts to be replaced largely by giving a stranger a sober stare  At 6 months, although babies still are most likely to react to strangers w/ a sober expression, they’re also likely to display distress  A distress reaction then gradually increases in frequency over the next half year, and by 7 to 9 months, the earlier wary reactions give way to clear expressions of fear  Stranger distress: a fear of strangers that typically emerges in infants around the age of 9 months o Babies aren’t all alike in their reactions to strangers and for some, greeting and smiling may be frequent reaction, and fear isn’t typical while others show fear  Whether a baby is fearful of a stranger depends on a host of variables, including who the stranger is, how they behaves, the setting in which the person is encountered, and the child’s age More Fear Less Fear Context  Unfamiliar setting (e.g. lab)  Familiar setting (e.g. home)  No physical contact w/ familiar figure-  Close physical proximity to familiar distant from mother or familiar person figure  Sober or negative emotional reactions  Positive or encouraging reactions to stranger from familiar figure to stranger from familiar figure Characteristics of stranger Adult size and features Child size and features Behaviour of stranger Passive and exhibits sober expression Active, friendly, smiling Degree of control over strange person Low control and unpredictability High control and predictability or object  Social referencing: the process of “reading” emotional cues in others to help determine how to act in an uncertain situation o As infants develop, they are more likely to look at the mother’s face than at other parts of her body o Infants grow also in their tendency to check w/ their mothers before they act  Some kinds of fear do appear to be universal and are present in all cultures, in particular separation protest o Separation protest: an infant’s distress reaction to being separated from his or her mother, which typically peaks at about 15 months of age Anger and Sadness  In early infancy, it’s 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 o E.g. what looks like anger in a baby may actually represent a generalized state of distress  Infants usually display anger, in response to particular external events  Sadness, too, is a reaction to pain, hunger, or lack of control, but occurs less often than anger  Babies become sad when there are breakdowns in parent-infant communication o E.g. when a usually responsive caregiver ceases to respond to the babies social overtures, the infant will exhibit distress and sadness Development of Secondary Emotions More Complex Emotions: Pride, Shame, Guilt, and Jealousy  The appropriate display of more complex emotions requires the ability to differentiate and integrate the roles of multiple factors in a situation, and often includes the role of personal responsibility  These emotions are often called secondary or “self-conscious” emotions b/c they rely on the development of self-awareness and they begin to emerge toward the middle of the 2ndyear of life Pride and Shame  Crucial to distinguishing b/w children’s experience of pride or shame is their emerging sense of the differences b/w “easy” and “difficult” and b/w “success” and “failure” o Researchers found that by the time children were about 3 years old, they had learned that they were more likely to feel pride if they succeeded at difficult tasks rather than at easy ones o They also expressed more shame if they failed an easy task but expressed little shame if they failed a difficult task  Children’s sense of pride also depends on their ability to entertain multiple emotions-such as pleasure at doing a task well and happiness that others appreciate the accomplishment Guilt  It’s only gradually that children develop an appreciation of the central role of personal responsibility in their behaviour in relation to other people and ,thus, an understanding of guilt o This understanding of guilt emerges in middle childhood…around 6-9 years old  Researchers reached the conclusion that young children focus on simple outcomes, whereas older children, who focus on the role of responsibility, understand that unless they themselves caused the outcome they need not feel guilty  Although we often explore the development of different human capacities, such as emotional expressions and cognitive competence, separately, these capacities clearly are mutually interdependent o E.g. it’s clear that the development of specific emotions is closely entwined w/such cognitive advances as the ability to understand causality and hence, personal responsibility Jealousy  Jealousy is a common emotion that we all experience and it can occur as early as 1 year of age  The way that children express their jealousy changes across development o In response to a jealousy-provoking scenario, younger children displayed distress, whereas older siblings showed sadness and anger  Jealous reactions are costly: children who react w/ jealousy may be less able to focus on their play activities than children who show less jealousy  The experience and expressions of jealousy depend on the nature of the relationship in which this unpleasant emotion arises o When children have a secure and trusting relationship w/ their mothers and fathers, jealousy b/w siblings is less prevalent o Close relationships b/w child and parent and b/w the parents themselves serve as a protective factor in buffering children from jealous reactions Individual Difference in Emotions  There are wide individual differences among infants and young children in their readiness to express positive or negative emotions o Babies who are more sociable show less wariness in encounters w/ strangers than less sociable infants while some babies smile more readily and laugh more heartily  Behaviourally inhibited youngsters tend to show atypical physiological reactions-such as rapid heart rates-in stressful situations, and their fearful responses and shyness tend to endure across time, from toddlerhood on into the early school years Recognizing Emotions in Others  B/w the ages of 3 -6 months, babies are exposed to others’ facial expressions and during this interaction w/ parents or other caregivers, facial expressions are an effective way for parents to communicate their feelings and wishes to a child who cannot yet understand speech  Babies may develop the ability to recognize joy earlier than they can recognize anger  The nature of early experience alters children’s ability to recognize emotions as the learning perspective on emotional development would predict o E.g. 3.5 months old infants recognize their mothers’ emotional expressions earlier than they recognize such expressions in either fathers or strangers o When mothers spent more time interacting directly w/ their babies, their infants were more successful at recognizing their mothers’ emotional expressions  However, both the quality and quantity of interactions b/w parents and infants make a different in children’s ability to recognize emotions o E.g. abused children who experience high levels of threat and hostility are able to identify anger expressions more easily than non-abused children are, but they are less capable of detecting expressions  The early family environment clearly plays a role in shaping children’s abilities to recognize emotions Emotional Regulation and Emotional Display Rules  Often, humans get their first clue from something they began learning even before they were born: they found that putting their thumbs in their mouths helps to soothe them o From this unintentional act of control, infants move to the more deliberate regulation of their emotions- e.g. when they encounter a frightening event they may turn away, or place their hands to cover their faces  As infants become toddlers and head toward the preschool years the learn a variety of strategies for emotional regulation as parents and others start to require them to exert even more control over their emotional expression  Emotional expressions become less frequent, les variable, and more conventionalized, less distinct, and less intense and exaggerated- e.g. a hungry baby may cry in uncontrollable frustration, whereas an older child whose mealtime is delayed will merely pout and complain  At the same time, children begin to learn emotional display rules: rules that dictate which emotions one may appropriately display in particular situations o This often means learning to separate the visible expressions of an emotion form its inner experience o Following various social norms, children 8-10 years old learn to smile even when they feel unhappy, to feign distress that isn’t really felt, or to mask amusement when they know they shouldn’t laugh  Culture plays an impt role in how children appraise situations, communicate emotions, and act on their feelings o Cole and colleagues studied Brahman and Tamang societies in rural Nepal and a rural town in the U.S. o They asked gr. 2, 4 and 5 children how they would react to a difficult interpersonal situation, such as someone spilling a drink on your homework or accusing you of stealing. o ANSWER - Tamang, is a Buddhist group who endorse interpersonal harmony therefore children were more likely than the other 2 groups to respond to difficult situation w/ shame - Braham which teaches self-control in social interactions and the careful control of emotions, did not reveal anger or shame in response to their emotionally upsetting problem - U.S. children were more likely to endorse the display of anger as children from the U.S. were more problem- focused and action-oriented than the other 2 groups. How Children Think About Emotions Matching Emotions to Situations: Emotional Scripts  Over time, children undergo shifts in the ways they express
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