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Chapter 6

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Gustavo Gottret

Chapter 6: Emotional Development in Infancy Emotional Development Defining Emotion -an emotion is defined as a feeling, or affect, that occurs when a person is in a state or an interaction that is important to him or her, especially to his or her well-being -almost all emotions are classified as either positive or negative -positive emotions include enthusiasm, joy, and love -negative emotions include anxiety, anger, guilt, and sadness Biological and Environmental Influences -emotions are influenced both by biological foundations and by a person's experience -biological influences can be seen in the changes in a baby's emotional capacities -certain regions of the brain develop early in life (i.e.: brain stem, hippocampus, and amygdala) and play a role in distress, excitement, and rage -maturation of the frontal regions of the cerebral cortex is tied to the ability to regulate their emotions; frontal cortex can exert control over other areas in the brain -environmental influences are found through our relationships, attachment and culture -social relationships provide the setting for the development of emotions -culture provides diversity in emotional experiences -e.g.: East Asian infants display less frequent and less positive and negative emotions than non-Latino infants because Asian parents encourage their children to show emotional reserve rather than emotional expressivity Early Emotions -primary emotions are emotions that are present in humans and other animals -these emotions appear in the first 6 months of the human infant's development -e.g.: surprise, interest, joy, anger, sadness, fear, and disgust -self-conscious emotions require self-awareness that involves consciousness and a sense of "me" -e.g.: jealousy, empathy, embarrassment, pride, shame, and guilt -other-conscious emotions involve embarrassment, shame, and guilt because they involve the emotional reactions of others when they are generated -e.g.: when parents show approval, toddlers show pride -it is difficult to determine when infants develop self-conscious emotions because it is hard to index early emotions Emotional Expression and Social Relationships -interactions between infants and people are mutually regulated -parents change their emotional expressions in response to infants' emotional expressions -infants modify their emotional expressions in response to their parent's emotional expressions -the interactions are described as reciprocal / synchronous when everything is going well -the babies' first forms of emotional communication: 1) Crying -crying is the most important mechanism of communication in newborns -there are at least 3 types of cry: a) Basic Cry -a rhythmic pattern that usually consists of a cry, followed by a briefer silence, then a shorter inspiratory whistle that is somewhat higher in pitch than the main cry, then another brief rest before the next cry -e.g.: a hunger cry b) Anger Cry -a variation of the basic cry -more excess air is forced through the vocal chords c) Pain Cry -stimulated by high-intensity stimuli -a sudden appearance of loud crying without preliminary moaning and a long initial cry followed by an extended period of breath holding -developmentalists argue that an infant cannot be spoiled in the first year of life and by soothing a crying an infant (rather than being unresponsive) there is a sense of trust and secure attachment 2) Smiling -there are 2 types of smiling a) Reflexive Smiling -does not occur in response to external stimuli -appears during the 1st month after birth and during irregular patterns of sleep b) Social Smiling -occurs in response to an external stimulus, which is typically a face -occurs more as infant grows -toddlers become aware of the social meaning of smiles as they grow older 3) Fear -appears at about 6 months -infant fear is linked to guilt, empathy, and low aggression a) Stranger Anxiety -an infant shows fear and wariness of strangers -emerges gradually -infants show less stranger anxiety when they are in familiar settings (a sense of security) b) Separation Protest -infants experience fear of being separated from their caregivers -involves crying when the caregiver leaves Emotion Regulation and Coping -emotion regulation consists of effectively managing arousal to adapt to and reach a goal -the infant gradually develops the ability to inhibit or minimize the intensity and duration of emotional reactions -caregivers' actions influence the infant's neurobiological regulation of emotions; caregivers help infants modulate their emotion and reduce the level of stress hormones -contexts can influence emotional regulation -infants are affected by fatigue, hunger, time of day, and the people around them -infants learn to adapt to different contexts that require emotional regulation -it is important to teach toddlers to verbally express and resolve negative emotional states or they will develop poor interpersonal skills and more likely to be victim of bullying Temperament and Personality Development Temperament -is defined as an individual's behavioural style and characteristic way of emotionally responding Chess and Thomas' Classification of Temperament -classification of the 3 basic types of temperament: 1) Easy Child (40%) -generally in a positive mood -quickly establishes regular routines in infancy -adapts easily to new experiences 2) Difficult Child (10%) -tends to react negatively and cry frequently -engages in irregular daily routines -slow to accept new experiences 3) Slow-to-Warm-Up Child (15%) -has a low activity level -somewhat negative -shows low adaptability -displays a low intensity of mood Kagan's Behavioural Inhibition -another way of classifying temperament that focuses on the differences between a shy, subdued, timid child and a sociable, extraverted, and bold child -inhibition to the unfamiliar is characterized by shyness with strangers -inhibited children react to many aspects of unfamiliarity with initial avoidance, distress, or subdued affect Rothbart and Bates' Classification 1) Extraversion / Surgency -includes positive anticipation, impulsivity, activity level, and sensation seeking -Kagan's uninhibited children fit into this category 2) Negative Affectivity -includes fear, frustration, sadness, and discomfort -children are easily distressed -they may fret and cry often -Kagan's inhibited children fit into this category 3) Effortful Control (Self-Regulation) -includes attentional focusing and shifting, inhibitory control, perceptual sensitivity, and low-intensity pleasure -these infants show an ability to keep their arousal from getting too high and have strategies for soothing themselves -children low on effortful control become easily agitated and intensely emotional Biological Foundations and Experience -children inherit a physiology that biases them to have a particular type of temperament -through experience, they may learn to modify their temperament to some degree Biological Influences -physiological characteristics have been linked with different temperaments -an inhibited temperament is associated with a unique physiological patterns that include high and stable heart rate, high level of cortisol, and high activity in the right frontal lobe of the brain -the amygdala (involved in fear and inhibition) is easily excitable -may be linked to low levels of serotonin which may increase vulnerability to fear and frustration -twin and adoption studies suggest that heredity has a moderate influence on differences in temperament within a group of people -temperament is a biologically-based but evolving aspect of behaviour -it evolves as the child's experiences are incorporated into a network of self-perceptions and behavioural preferences that characterize the child's personality Gender, Culture, and Temperament -gender is an important factor in shaping the context that influences the fate of temperament -parents might react differently to an infant's temperament depending on whether the baby is a boy or girl -the reaction to an infant's temperament may depend on culture -an active temperament may be valued in some cultures but not in other cultures (like China) -overall, many aspects of the child's temperament can discourage the persistence of temperament characteristics Goodness of Fit and Parenting -goodness of fit refers to the match between a child's temperament and the environmental demands the child must cope with; lack of fit between the child's temperament and environmental demands can produce adjustment problems for the child -some implications of temperamental variations for parenting include: a) Attention to and Respect for Individuality -parents need to be sensitive to the infant's signals and needs -a goal of parenting might be accomplished in one way with one child and in another way with another child, depending on the child's development b) Structuring the Child's Environment -crowded, noisy environments can pose greater problems for a 'difficult' child than an 'easygoing' child -some children may benefit from slower entry into new contexts c) The 'Difficult Child' and Packaged Parenting Programs -acknowledgement that some children are harder to parent is often helpful and advice on how to handle particular difficult temperament characteristics can also be useful -the label 'difficult' should be used with care -parental behaviour may have implications for infants' cognitive development in addition to their social environment Personality Development Trust -the trust versus mistrust stage of development characterizes the first year after birth (Erikson) -infants learn trust when they are cared for in a consistent, warm manner; otherwise, mistrust develops -trust versus mistrust is not resolved once and for all in the 1st year of life -e.g.: children who enter school with a sense of mistrust may regain a sense of trust because of a responsive teacher; children who leave infancy with a sense of trust can still have their sense of mistrust activated layer if their parents get divorced for example Self -individuals carry a sense of who they are and what makes them difference from everyone else -this sense of self (real or imagined) is a strong motivating force in life -infants find and construct their self -signs of self-recognition and self-understanding began to appear among some infants when they were 15-18 months old -toddlers show other emerging forms of self-awareness that reflect a sense of "me" -blind children have a sense of self at a young age but may develop slower than other infants Independence -a child goes through a separation and then an individuation process (Mahler) -separation involves the infant's movement away from the mother -individuation involves the development of self -independence is an important issue in the second year of life (Erikson) -the 2nd stage is the stage of autonomy versus shame / doubt -autonomy builds on the infant's developing mental and motor abilities -it is important for parents to recognize the motivation of toddlers to do what they are capable of doing at their own pace -shame and doubt develops when parents are impatient and do for toddlers what they are capable of doing themselves -the development of autonomy during the toddler years gives adolescents the courage to be independent individuals who can choose and guide their own future Social Orientation / Understanding and Attachment Social Orientation / Understanding Social Orientation -face-to-face play often begins to characterize caregiver-infant interactions when the infant is about to 2-3 months old of age -the focused social interaction of face-to-face play may include vocalizations, touch, gestures -this creates a positive emotional state in their infants -interaction with peers increases -children increase their imitative and reciprocal play such as imitating non-verbal actions like jumping and running Locomotion -as infants develop the ability to move, they are able to explore and expand their social world -self-produced locomotor skills allow the infant to independently initiate social interchanges on a more frequent basis -locomotion is important for its motivational implications -when infants have the ability to move in goal-directed pursuits, the reward from the pursuits leads to further efforts to explore and develop skills Intention, Goal-Directed Behaviour, and Cooperation -perceiving people as engaging in intentional and goal-directed behaviour is an important social- cognitive accomplishment -joint attention occurs when the caregiver and infant focus on the same object or event -in social understanding tasks, those with more social understanding were more likely to cooperate -to cooperate, children have to connect their own intentions with the peers' intentions and put understanding to use in interacting with the peer to reach a goal -social competence involves not being aggressive or defiant, showing empathy, and engaging in sustained attention Social Referencing -involves "reading" emotional cues in others to determine how to act in a particular situation more accurately (e.g.: when they encounter a stranger and need to know whether to fear the person) -helps children int
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