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Chapter 10

PSYC 251 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Heart Rate, Neural Development, Social Emotions

Course Code
PSYC 251
Stanka A Fitneva

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Chapter 10
Emotional Intelligence: A set of abilities that contribute to competence in the
social and emotional do, include being able to motivate oneself, persist in the face
of frustration, control impulses and delay gratification
Emotional intelligence predicts how well you will do in life more than anything
else, successfulness corresponds with the ability to manage frustrations, control
emotions and get along with others
Key themes include: individual differences (differences among children in various
aspects of their emotional function and how it is controlled by hereditary, parental
and social practices), nature and nurture, sociocultural context, active child,
continuity vs. discontinuity
The Development of Emotions in Childhood
Emotion: Characterized by neural and physiological responses, subjective
feelings, cognitions related to those feelings and the desire to take action
Developmentalists see emotions as several components:
- Neural responses involved in emotion
- Physiological factors (heart and breath rate, hormone levels)
- Subjective feelings
- Cognitions or perceptions that cause or are associated with the
neural/physiological responses
- Desire to take action (desire to escape, approach, change things)
Theories on the Nature and Emergence of Emotion
Darwin argued that facial expressions for basic emotional states are innate and
similar across all people
Differential/Discrete Emotions Theory: Emotions viewed as innate and discrete
from one another from very early in life, and each emotion is believed to be
packaged with a specific and distinctive set of bodily and facial expressions,
corresponds with Darwins argument
Some believe that emotions are not distinct from on another at the beginning of
life and the environment plays a role in the emergence/expression of emotions
Sroufe believed that there are 3 basic affect systems: joy/pleasure,
anger/frustration and wariness/fear and these become more developed and more
advanced as you get older, changes are due to expanding social experiences and
the increasing ability to understand them
Functionalist Approach: Basic function of emotions is to promote action toward
achieving a goal, emotions are not discrete from another and vary somewhat
based on the social environment, emotions affected by social goals, other’s
interpretations of events/reactions to them

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Dynamic-systems theory explicitly deals with how characteristics and experiences
coalesce in emotional processing, novel forms of functioning arise through the
spontaneous coordination of components interacting repeatedly. In these
interactions, specific cognitions, emotional feelings and physiological and neural
events tend to link each occasion closely, forming “emotional interpretations”
Dynamic systems approach believes that emotional reactions develop differently
from person to person based on their biology/cognitive capacities, experiences
and how the factors coalesce over time
The Emergence of Emotion in the Early Years of Childhood
Parents often read into their infants emotional reaction, whatever emotion would
be appropriate to the immediate situation
Positive Emotions
In first month with exhibit fleeting smiles, mostly during REM sleep, after first
month, may smile when stroked
The early smiles may be reflexive and evoked by a biological state rather than
social interaction
By the third month, babies will exhibit social smiles (smiles that are directed
toward people), will elicit an adult’s delight, interest and affection, which in turn
inspire more smiling
Young infants are more likely to smile because of humans rather than interesting
A study played music whenever children pulled a string in one group and music at
random intervals in another group, children were more likely to smile if they were
the reason why the music was being played
At 7 months, infants will smile primarily at familiar people rather than just people
in general
After first year, expression of positive emotions increases, start to laugh
Around the second year, children start to clown around and are happy when they
can make other people laugh
Negative Emotions
First negative emotion seen in newborns in generalized distress (from hunger,
pain and overstimulation)

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Some studies say that negative emotions are just an undifferentiated state of
distress while other theorists believe that infants can feel sadness and anger
Dynamic-systems theorists believe that differentiating among infant’s expressions
is difficult by their expressions of emotions are affected by nonemotional factors
such as position of their head, respiration, where they are looking…etc.
Negative emotions are hard to interpret
Made even harder to interpret because infants often display negative emotions
that are incongruent with the situation they are experiencing (in the string pulling
experiment, some experienced fear when they could not make the music again
and others experienced anger)
Correspondence between context and emotional expression becomes more
consistent from 5-12 months
By age 4 infants are wary of unfamiliar objects and by age 6-7 months they begin
to experience fear
Young children who were not afraid of strangers at 6 months can suddenly be
afraid of them by 7-8 months, fear of strangers lasts around age 2
Around 7 months, other fears are in play as well (loud noises, novel toys, sudden
Fear is adaptive, since babies do not have the ability to escape potentially
dangerous situations on their own, they need to rely on their parents, expressions
of fear/distress are tools for bringing help
Separation Anxiety: Feelings of distress that children feel when they are
separated or expect to be separated from individuals to whom they are
emotionally attached, emerges around 8 months
Separation anxiety experienced across all cultures, increases from 8-15 months
and then decreases after that
By 4-8 months, anger is expressed, this expression increases until 16 months,
after around 2 years this increases, except for those with problematic relationships
Decline in negative emotionality due to increasing ability for the average child to
regulate the expression of their negative feelings
The Self-Conscious Emotions: Embarrassment, Pride, Guilt, and Shame
Self-Conscious Emotions: Emotions such as guilt, shame, embarrassment, and
pride that relate to our sense of self and our consciousness of other’s reactions to
Believe these emotions arise at age 2 since this is when children gain the
understanding that they themselves are entities distinct from other people and
begin to develop a sense of self, abrupt, qualitative change in children’s abilities
to experience emotions and suggests discontinuity in emotional development due
to emergence of underlying cognitive awareness, also fostered by sense of what
adult/society expects of them
Around 15 months begin to show embarrassment when they are the center of
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