Chapter 6

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Mark Schmuckler

Chapter 6 Early Emotional Development y emotions are subjective reactions to the environment usually experienced cognitively as either pleasant or unpleasant generally accompanied by some form of physiological arousal often communicated to others by some behaviour or action y emotional development is influenced by genetic inheritance conditions of the environment into which one is born interactions with family members and later on with peers y The geneticmaturational perspective emotions are products of biological factors D 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 D twin studies and research with premature infants support the biological underpinnings for the development of emotions 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 negative emotions such as fear are also similar in identical twins in their fear reactions to strangers and in their general degree of inhibitedness D normal conceptual age of a new born is 40 weeks and most full term babies begin to smile at 6 weeks after they are born or at aconceptual age of 46 weeks premature infants born at 34 weeks often do not smile until 12 weeks after birth which is 46 weeks for them as welly The learning perspective particularly useful in explaining individual differences in emotional expression In general different emotional expressions have different onsets frequencies and intensities in different children D frequency with which children smile seems to vary with the nature of the environment in which they are raised D parents can help their children learn to manage and understand their emotions by rewarding only certain emotional displays or they can interfere by being punitive and dismissing their childrens emotional expressions or certain emotional displays D learning experiences can also elicit and reinforce fear responses eg a child can be conditioned to fear a doctor who gave him a painful flu shot y The functionalist perspective is a contemporary approach to emotional development Emotions serve to help us achieve our goals and adapt to our environments and it emphasizes the role that social cues play in regulating our emotional perceptions and expressions This approach incorporates many features of the learning perspective in a unified view of emotional development D goals arouse emotions joy and hope arise as we anticipate forming a new friendship for example emotion of fear may lead us to flee the dangerous situation enabling us to achieve the goal of selfpreservation
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