Chapter 8: Development of Emotions in Childhood
The Emergence of Emotions
Emotions in the First year of life
• Emotional development is social development
• An important way of thinking about emotions is that there is a small set of primary
emotions. Tomkins proposed that each emotion comes as an innate package with its own
neural program. Emotional expressions are outward and visible signs of inner programs.
• At 3 months, children smile in response to the same kinds of events that make older
children and adults happy- attention, invitation to play, and other pleasurable social
encounters. Smiling occurs when infants master skills.
• One function of infants’ smiles is to make adults interested and happy
• Discrete emotions should only be inferred if a specific facial expression is made in the
context of an appropriate elicitor.
• Sullivan and Lewis studied three different kinds of frustration: loss of the stimulation
(extinction), reduction in contingent stimulation (partial reinforcement), a loss of stimulus
control (noncontingency) . For all these conditions 4-5 month old babies increased their
arm movements and showed anger expressions.
• Although distinct emotions may be recognizable later in life, such expressions may not
appear fully formed at first so that sometimes just partial expressions occur, and
sometimes expressions seem inappropriate.
• In young infants negative expressions occur but at different intensities. At high intensity
the expression is distress-pain, at lower intensities it is anger and at very low waning
intensity is sadness. When making negative expressions infants often contract their
orbicularis oculi muscles and close their eyes.
• Emotions develop as dynamic self organizing systems. The theory of dynamic systems
is related to chaos theory. The idea of self organizing system is that certain kinds of
interactions among parts of a system maintain their relationship and overall form b/c the
forces of internal coherence are stronger than those that might impinge on the system
from outside. • The dynamic system theorists of psychology say, the systems of components that have
their expressions as smiles, frowns, and distinctive emotional interactions, is dynamic,
self-organizing, resistant to disruption. Many different forms can occur. Some of these
forms become recognizable as emotional expressions.
• Self organization, as predicted by dynamic systems theorists may be important in early
development of discrete emotions.
• Fogel et al’s hypothesis has 3 principles;
1) emotions are based on self organizing dynamic systems;
2) these depend on continuously evolving sequences of action in particular environments rather
than on internal programs;
3) categories of emotions are constructed from gradients of time and intensity of vocal, gestural
and other features. According to this proposal, emotions emerge and they derive from the
interactions of lower level processes that are not themselves emotions.
Developmental Changes in Elicitation of Emotions
• As children age, their capacities to signal different emotions and the kinds of events that
elicit emotions changes.
• With increasing age up to 2 years, children showed more fearful avoidance of the visual
cliff, and more fear of strangers and masks. Fear bgan around 7 months, reached a peak
at the end of the first year and then declined in intensity. Early school years fears
surround bodily injury and physical danger.
• In adolescence, social concerns become the predominant causes of fear and anxiety.
Larson et al. There was an increasing negativity of emotional experience from grade 5 to
grade 9. As participants go older, their negative emotional experience became more
closely associated with stressful life events. From grade 10 onward, and average growth of
positivity was found in adolescent emotional experience.
Infants’ Perceptions and parent’s special Expressions
• Habituation, how infants perceive emotion in other people is they look at patterns that
are new to them for longer than patterns that are familiar.
• Infants tend to recognize emotional expressions in their parents’ voices. Ex. Mothers use a
different voice in talking to infants than they do talking to adults. This special voice of
motherese, makes the child show more positive emotions. • Imitation, which babies show from teh fist few hours of life, has emotional effects for
them. The internal feedback of facial actions when infants mimic adult emotional
expressions culd evoke emotions in the child. Babies imitative expressions are important
in sharing affective states with caregivers.
• By school age, children are goo at recognizing emotions in other people.
• Species characteristic patterns of attachment is central to human emotional
• Love is an emotions that is the foundational relationship of infancy, and it forms template
for intimate relationships for the rest of life.
• Mary Ainsworth worked with Bowlby; when moter is present there is a sense of security
and a distinctinve set of actions occur. When she is absent very different actions occur.
• Konrad Lorenz, imprinting, there is a critical period in goslings about 2 days, during
which a biological mechanism is set to recognize characteristics of the mother;
• Attachment has become the most important single theme in the emotio