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PSY210H5 (84)
Chapter 6


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Elizabeth Johnson

Chapter 6: Emotional Development and Attachment Notes Early Emotional Development • emotions - they are (1) subjective reactions to the environment, (2) usually experienced cognitively as either pleasant or unpleasant, (3) generally accompanied by some form of physiological arousal, and (4) often communicated to others by some behaviour/action 1.Why are emotions important? • means of letting others know how you feel • our successes in communicating our emotions and in learning how to interpret other people’s emotions is linked with out social success • emotions are linked to mental and physical health 2. Primary and secondary emotions: • primary: fear, joy, disgust, surprise, sadness, and interest • these emerge early in life and do not require self-reflection • secondary: pride, shame, guilt, jealousy, and embarrassment these emerge later in development and depend on our sense of self and our awareness of other individuals’ • reactions to our actions 3.Perspectives on emotional development: a) The genetic-maturational perspective: • emotions are seen as products of biological factors • twin studies support this perspective b) The learning perspective: • useful in explaining individual differences in emotional expression different emotional expressions have different onsets,frequencies,and intensities in different children • • the frequency with which children smile and laugh seems to vary with the nature of the environment in which they are raised • parents can either help or interfere emotions in children by using operant conditioning c) The functionalist perspective: • emotions serve to help us achieve our goals and adapt to our environment = establishing social relationships • we use information provided by others’ emotional signals to guide our own behaviour Development of Primary Emotions 1.Positive primary emotions: Smiling and laughter: • reflex smile - a newborn infant’s smile,which appears to reflect some internal stimulus rather than external stimulus • these smiles may have adaptive value for the baby,ensuring critical caregiver attention and stimulation • b/w 3 and 8 weeks of age, infants begin to smile in response to external stimuli 3 month old babies start to smile more selectively at familiar faces • • there are individual differences in smiling: some of them have to do with the social responsiveness of the baby’s environment girls smile more than boys • • laughing plays an important role in caregiver-infant interaction • the nature of the stimuli that elicit laughter changes as the child develops 2. Negative primary emotions: Fear, anger, and sadness: a) Fear: • 2 phases in the emergence of fear: wariness (children respond with distress to an event that includes both familiar and unfamiliar aspects and which they cannot comprehend) and true fear (an immediate negative reaction to an event that has specific meaning to them, e.i. seeing a stranger) • whether a baby is fearful of a stranger depends on a couple of variables, including who the stranger is,how she behaves, the setting in which the person is encountered,and the child’s age • it also depends on how the mother reacts to the stranger • social referencing - the process of “reading” emotional cues in others to help determine how to act in an uncertain situation • separation protest (an infant’s distress reaction to being separated from her mother) is present in all cultures b) Anger and sadness: • infants usually display anger in response to external stimuli • sadness occurs less often than anger • see Turning Points on page 200-201 for complete list of emotions Development of Secondary Emotions 1.More complex emotions: Pride, shame, guilt, and jealousy: • rely on the development of self-awareness a) Pride and shame: • crucial to distinguishing b/w children’s experience of pride and shame is their emerging sense of the differences b/w “easy” and “difficult” and b/w “success” and “failure” • children’s understanding 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 - and their sense of personal agency, or effort b) Guilt: emerges in middle childhood • • young children focus on simple outcomes, whereas older children, who focus on the role of personal responsibility, understand that unless they themselves caused the outcome they need not feel guilty c) Jealousy: • it can occur as early as 1 year of age • it’s a social emotions • the way that children express jealousy changes across development • the experience and expression of jealousy depend on the nature of the relationship in which this emotion arises The Development of Attachment • attachment - a strong emotional bond that forms b/w infant and caregiver in the 2nd half of the child’s 1st year 1.Theories of attachment: a) Psychoanalytic theory: • Freudian theory • babies become attached 1st to the mother’s breast and then to the mother herself as a source of oral gratification b) Learning theory: • infants become attached to the mother b/c she provides food, or primary reinforcement, and, thus, she acquires secondary-reinforcement properties (acquires reinforcing properties by virtue of repeated association with a primary reinforcer) • this is a controversial view - some researchers think that feeding is not as important for the development of attachment •babies develop attachment to fathers or other frequently seen adults that play no role in feeding • central point = attachment is not automatic; it develops over time as a result of satisfying interaction with responsive adults c) Cognitive developmen
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