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Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Development of Emotions in Childhood

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Gerald Cupchik

Chapter 8: Development of Emotions in Childhood  3 main areas in which children experience emotional development: emotional expression, emotion recognition, and emotional regulation. Theories of Emotional Development Differential emotions theory (Carrol Izaard): basic/discrete emotions (joy, anger, sadness, disgust, fear) are “natural kinds”, innate, and mature on a developmental schedule.  All basic emotions have neural, expressive and feeling components that occur automatically and unconsciously in response to specific events.  Emotional response pattern are stereotypical but modifiable via info processing mechs  Emotional dev is due to maturation and particular types of interaction that lead to distinct emotions Differentiation Theory (Katherine Bridges, 1932): infants start with 2 basic emotional states (negativity/distress and positivity/pleasure) which differentiate later on  Possibly bc of changes in hedonic tone and general arousal.  Infant emotion = state of diffuse excitement. This differentiates into +/- affect, then to basic emotions.  Changes are based on biological maturation and interaction w/ environment. Functionalist: emotions are relational processes in which children establish, alter, and maintain their relationship w/ the environment  Emotion = intrapersonal feeling + interpersonal consequences  Eg) joy may signal success towards a goal  Facial expressions = communication which differ based on audience, event, and personal relevance  Emotional dev is due to social interaction Emotional Expression: facial expressions, vocal overtures, and gestures. Basic Emotions = building blocks for emotions req. for complex social interactions. 1. Disgust = earliest  Seen in newborns in resp to sour taste (sim expression other primates make to sourness) 2. Joy/happiness, 2months  1m: smiles aren’t social bc occur mostly during sleep  2m: social smiles occur; smile elicited from gentle stroking  3m.: smiles occur during infant-caregiver interactions, indicating positive emotion.  Smile for more attention & to engage caregiver. Research sugg. Children’s emotional display affects their parent’s emotions more than the reverse 3. Anger, 4-6m  Izard, bennet & colleagues (2002):w/ facial expression coding scheme, they studied 4mo & 12mo facial expr. in resp to arm restraint.  More 4mo children showed surprise than anger during arm restraint, revealing they respond emotionally different to same stimulus  Follow up @ 12mo: equally more Joy and anger than surprise, fear and sadness in arm restraint test  Interest and surprise responses decline b/w 4-12mo. Sugg. basic emotions become more organized and differentiated over 1 year of life, but as specific as older children. 4. Sadness, 4mo  Michael Lewis and colleagues: sad facial expressions were accompanied by increased cortisol lvls like in adults BUT these sad expressions are also seem in response to disgust elicitors.  So, it’s uncertain if infant-sadness = adult-sadness. 5. Fear, 7mo in unison w/ motor skill development  Bennet (2002): in resp to fear causing sitch (masked stranger), 4mo kids showed surprise and joy more than fear  Fear expressions occurred in any situation that didn’t provoke danger  4mo express fear in surprise eliciting situations (jack in the box)  Camras (2007): their cross-cultural study of 11mo American, Chinese, and Japanese saw little expression differences.  Fear and anger couldn’t be reliably distinguished according to the context in which they happened.  Braungart-Rieker, Hill-Soderlund, and Karass (2010)  4m: fear = weak resp to strangers  4m-12m: fear resp. strengthens and levels off at b/w 12-16m.  More temperamental fear = more fearful reactivity  More sensitive mom = slower fear increase rate in babies over time  6. Surprise = most common reaction to anger and fear eliciting situations which sugg. a lack of emotional specificity  Camras et al (2002): coded surprise facial expressions of 11mo. Found no difference b/w surprise and baseline events in surprise facial expression.  5-14mo: situations expected to cause surprise were accompanied by freezing behaviour. So, this may be a characteristic of early surprise reaction. Social Emotions: 18 Months and Beyond  18m: self-conscious emotions arise - empathy, concern-related altruism, embarrassment, and envy are recognized by combo of facial, vocal, and bodily expressions  12-18m: kids respond to another’s distress by giving the kind of comfort they themselves usually like (comforting, bringing a parent, or offering an object)  3y: comfort given is tailored more to the individual’s needs (fetch the child’s mother and respond with concern to the distress that they have caused)  2-3y: self-conscious evaluative emotions – pride, guild, shame, regret  Pride – you must compare your behaviour with some social standard to evaluate success and failure. Cognitive development that enable the emergence of emotions  Joy/happiness  Lavelli and Fogel (2005): changes in visual attn. parallel the emergence of smiling  Studied infant expressions of happiness during mom-child interactions on a weekly basis from birth to 3mo  1mo infants switched b/w simple atn to their moms face and neutral gazes away from face  2mo: more concentration on mother’s face (head, mouth, eyes) + social smiling  3-4m infants expect caregivers to respond to their overtures. No resp = sadness  Anger, 4-6m: caused by frustration in response to a blocked goal  Requires knowledfe of the goal one is trying to get and understanding one cant successfully achieve it  Associated w/ means-ends knowledfe @ 6m  Fear  Req. ability to compare a potentially threatening encounter w/ similar event in memory  Fear reflects an increase in mem capacity and visual discrimination  Appraisal theory: when the even such as seeing Mom is consistent with a goal (wanting mom to be present), joy will occur.  Mom leaves = sadness; mom might potentially arrive = hope or fear, but not joy.  Dev of Consciousness and mentalizing @ 2y – empathy and embarrassment  Self-reflection and self-other differentiation are 2 cognitive milestones in the emergence of the self- conscious emotions  Children must understand the subjectivity of other’s experiences (knowing other’s are in a different emotional state from them) and that they can be the object of another person’s attention (e.g. embarrassment requires you to understand you are the subject of social evaluation)  Self- recognition: awareness of the objectivity of one’s own body. Self-directed behaviour occurs at 18m.  Tested w/ mirror-rouge paradigm.  One can reflect on courses of action in making decisions and generate new solutions  Lewis (1997): self-recog abilities means you can show embarrassment and empathy  Theyre able to understand that they can be the target of others’ emotional displays.  Kids are less likely to imitate another person’s actions when these display elicit neg reactions  At 2-4y, the cognitive development of language causes an increase in talking about emotional states  Emotions that arise are pride, shame, guilt, regret  Use words: happy, sad, mad and scared  Mainly talk about their own emotions, but also attribute these emotions to others  18mo engage in cooperation and altruistic acts.  3-4y: attribute representational states to people, such as beliefs, thoughts and knowledge  Eg) reasoning that “john cheated bc he thought the teacher was not in the room”  Widen & Russel (2010): children being able to understand other’s minds shows they have a fuller understanding of emotion concepts and different types of emotions  The capacity to attribute beliefs to oneself or others parallels the development of certain social emotions  Eg) Pride, is a feeling of accomplishment; joy= belief that one successfully reached a goal.  5y: children connect others’ beliefs to their emotions  Theory of mind: ability to understand oneself and others in terms of mental states (emotions, desires, beliefs). This is needed for socio-emotional dev.  Jenkins and Astington (2002): theory of mind was responsible for kids increased capacity to engange in joint plans. Developmental Changes in Elicitation and Expression: Changes in the kinds of events that elicit specific emotions  Fear starts at 7 months, peaks at 12m, and declines over time.  4-5y: fear is caused by imaginary monsters, ghosts, etc.  Early school years, fear of physical harm emerges  Exposure to different eliciting situations across time creates a range of new emotional experiences  Emotional expression changes a
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