Chapter 4 Notes
The First Two Years – Psychosocial Development
-‐ within the first two years, infants progress from reactive pain and pleasure, to complex patterns
of social awareness – period of life is characterized by “high emotional responsiveness”
-‐ uncensored reactions (crying, laughing, raging) in infancy to more complex responses
(self-satisfied grins, mournful pouts) in toddlerhood.
-‐ Happiness is expressed by the social smile, a smile evoked by a human face at about 6 weeks.
-‐ laughter appears ~ 3-4 months.
-‐ Infants worldwide express social joy between 2-4 months.
Anger and Sadness
-‐ Infants express anger, usually triggered by frustration, by the time they are 6 months old.
-‐ anger in infancy is a health response to frustration - unlike sadness.
-‐ Sadness indicates withdrawal, and is accompanied by an increase in the body’s production of
cortisol (stress hormone)
-‐ sorrow is stressful in infants
-‐ fully formed fear in response to some person, thing or situation emerges at ~ 9 months.
-‐ Two kinds of social fears are obvious:
-‐ Stranger wariness: infant no longer smiles at any friendly face, but instead cries or looks
frightened when an unfamiliar person moves too close, too quickly.
-‐ Separation anxiety: expressed in tears, dismay or anger when a familiar care-giver
leaves. Normal at age 1, intensifies by age 2, and usually subsides after that. -- if
remains after age 3, may be considered to be an emotional disorder.
-‐ emotions that emerge in the first months of life take on new strength at about age 1
-‐ throughout the second year and beyond, anger and fear, typically become less frequent but
more focused -- targeted toward infuriating or terrifying experiences.
-‐ new emotions appear toward the end of the second year: pride, shame, embarrassment & guilt
-‐ emerge from family interactions, and influenced by culture
-‐ ex. NorthAmerican families generally encourage pride in toddlers “You did it all by
yourself!!”, butAsian families discourage pride, instead cultivating modesty & shame.
-‐ In every culture, families reinforce the
emotions that will best prepare the toddler
for life in that society.
-‐ by age 2, children can display the entire
spectrum of emotional reactions. SelfAwareness
-‐ SelfAwareness: the realization that one’s body, mind, and actions are separate from those of
-‐ Age 1: an emerging sense of “me” and “mine” leads to a new consciousness of others.
-‐ very young infants have no sense of self
-‐ Mahler theorized that for the first 4 months of life, infants see themselves as part of
-‐ The period from 15 to 18 months “is noteworthy for the emergence of the Me-self, the sense of
self as the object of one’s knowledge”
-‐ self-recognition in the mirror or in photographs usually emerges at about 18 months.
-‐ same age two other advances occur: pretending and using first-person pronouns
-‐ I, Me, Mine, Myself, My
Brain Maturation and the Emotions
-‐ Infants’understanding of themselves is related to maturation of a particular part of the brain
-‐ scans of infant brains are notoriously difficult, expensive and open to various
interpretations, so it’s difficult to to prove any specific neurological explanation of
-‐ Developmentalists agree that infants’emotional development, specifically social awareness and
reactions to stress, is directly tied to brain development.
-‐ relationship between brain maturation and the ability to express each emotion or sensation in an
appropriate way -- not confusing fear & anger, for instance, or a loud sound with the colour red.
-‐ such differentiation originates in the brain.
-‐ for infants, synesthesia seems common, because the boundaries between the sensory parts of
the cortex are less distinct -- textures seem associated with vision and sounds with smells; and
the infants own body seems associated with the bodies of others.
-‐ such sensory connections are called CROSS-MODAL PERCEPTION.
-‐ most developmentalists agree that the social smile and the first laughter appear as the cortex of
the brain matures.
-‐ the maturation of a particular part of the cortex is directly connected to emotional self-
regulation, which allows the child to moderate these emotions.
-‐ one important aspect of the infant’s emotional development is that particular people begin to
arouse specific emotions. -- infant emotional reactions depend partly on memory, which is
fragile in the first months and gradually improves as dendrites and axons connect
-‐ excessive stress impairs the brain, particularly in areas associated with emotional development -‐ Brain imagery and cortisol measurements have proven that the hypothalamus, the part of the
brain that regulates various bodily functions and hormone production, is affected by chronic
-‐ abuse - one form of chronic stress - has long-term consequences for a child’s emotional
-‐ brains of older children who have been maltreated respond abnormally to stress - such
abnormal neurological responses begin in infancy.
-‐ to keep infants from experiencing high levels of stress is to provide new mothers with abundant
help and emotional support
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development
-‐ connects biosocial and psychosocial development, emphasizing the need for responsive
-‐ Freud & Erikson both described two distinct early stages of development.
Freud: The Oral andAnal Stages
-‐ According to Freud, the first year of life is the oral stage (mouth is primary source of
-‐ In the second year, with the anal stage, the infant’s main pleasure comes from the anus -
particularly from the sensual pleasure of bowel movements, and eventually, the psychological
pleasure of controlling them
-‐ oral fixation: person is stuck at the oral stage, therefore eats, drinks, chews, bites or talks
excessively in quest of the mouth-related pleasure that was denied in infancy.
-‐ anal personality - as an adult, seeking self-control with an unusually strong need for regularity
and cleanliness in all aspects of life.
Erikson: Trust andAutonomy
-‐ According to Erikson, the first crisis of life is trust vs. mistrust, when infants learn whether the
world can be trusted to satisfy their basic needs.
-‐ the next crisis is called autonomy vs. shame and doubt. toddlers want autonomy (self-rule) over
their own actions and bodies. If they fail to fain it, they feel ashamed of their actions and
doubtful about their abilities.
-‐ Erikson took culture into account. He was aware that some cultures encourage independence
and autonomy, but he may not have realized that in others “shame is a normative emotion that
develops as parents use explicit shaming techniques” to encourage children’s loyalty and
harmony within their families
-‐ autonomy is prized in the United States.
-‐ from the perspective of behaviorism, parents mold an infant’s emotions and personality as they
reinforce or punish the child’s spontaneous behaviours -‐ later behaviorists noted infant social learning, which is learning via observing others.
-‐ Albert Bandura experiment: children watched an adult hitting a rubber BoBo clown with a
mallet and then treated the doll the same way.
-‐ behaviorist theory emphasizes the role of parents, especially mothers, as does psychoanalytic
-‐ Freud thought that the mother is the young child’s first and most enduring “love object” and
behaviorists stress the power that a mother has over her children.
-‐ this focus on the mother is too narrow
-‐ cognitive theory holds that thoughts and values determine a person’s perspective
-‐ thinking is affected both by the person’s age and the cultural values and thoughts affect
The Infant’s Working Model
-‐ early experiences are important because beliefs, perceptions and memories make them so, not
because they are buried in the unconscious (psychoanalytic theory) or burned into the brain
-‐ Infants use their early relationships to develop a working model: a set of assumptions that
become a frame reference to be called on later in life.
-‐ people develop cognitive schema to organize their perceptions of other people
-‐ this frame of reference is called a model because early relationships form a prototype, or
blueprint, for later relationships. it is called working because, while usable, it is not necessarily
fixed or final.
-‐ according to cognitive theory, it is a child’s interpretation of early experiences that is crucial -
not necessarily the experiences themselves.
-‐ cognitive theory takes into consideration the social constructions, or cultural beliefs, of the
-‐ ethnotheory: a set of ideas in which the values & practices of a particular culture or ethnic
group are embedded
-‐ Systems theory incorporates many factors: both genetic and learned, all of which change over
time and influence one another.
-‐ Every inherited trait affects the social context and vice versa, all in systematic, interactive way.
-‐ temperament begins as “constitutionally based individual differences” in emotions, activity, and
-‐ Constitutionally based means that these traits originate with nature (genes), although
they are influenced by nurture -‐ generally, personality traits are considered to originate from learning, whereas temperament
traits (shyness, aggression) are considered to originate from the genes.
-‐ systems theories stress that the boundaries between temperament and personality are porous,
since genes, child rearing and culture all influence one another.
The New York Longitudinal Study (NYLS)
-‐ first among many large studies to recognize that each newborn has distinct inborn traits that
then evoke responses from the parents
-‐ according the NYLS, by 3 months, infants manifest nine temperamental traits that can be
clustered into 4 categories: easy, difficult, slow to warm up, and hard to classify.
-‐ easy - 40%
-‐ difficult - 10%
-‐ Slow to Warm up - 15%
-‐ Hard to Classify - 35%
-‐ NYLS found that temperament often changes in the early weeks but become