Chapter 11: Individual differences
Early temperament contributes to personality: one’s characteristics are stable over time across
situations. These chars are emotion-based.
Biases of Emotion in Temperament and Personality central personality traits (neuroticism,
extraversion, and agreeableness) involve individual diffs in emotionality
Affective-cognitive structures: individual diffs in emotion whch affect emotional information
processing and behaviour.
Eg) temperament in babies & personality in adults are affective biases that shape feelings,
perception, and personality across situations across lifespan.
How Individual differences in Emotion Shape How we construe the World
Perceptual biases derive from people’s personality traits and affect daily living.
Anxious people are more sensitive to attentive to threat-related stimuli than neutral stim.
Neurotic cascade: neur people have more daily probs, have more severe emotional response
and reactions to recurring probs.
Biases in more anger-prone individuals causes them to feel more angry about ambiguous situations,
than less anger-prone.
Hostile attribution bias: bias that contribute to aggressive b and problematic interactions
Reciprocal Processes in Emotion Expression
David Kenny’s social relations Model: examines extent to which people expressed the same/diff
reactions from others.
Actor effect: how much one expressed same emotions w/ fam members
Partner effect: how much one elicited the same emotions w/ fam members.
Rasbash et al (2011): coded videos of family interactions for neg and positive emotions
Actor effect is stronger for positivity = fam members expressed positive emotions of other fam
members more than the neg
Partner effect was evident for negativity not positivity = don’t show characteristic emo
expressions in terms of what they express to others and elicit from them
50% of varience in neg and positivity depends on the specific relationship of the two fam
Attachment and emotionality attachment framework: 4 styles secure, ambivalent, avoidant,
Bowlby saw attachment as an evolutionarily derived aspect of the parent-child relationship that is
activated when the child experiences threat.
Emotions = signals.
Child has expectations about whether the caregiver will or won’t respond. This expectation =
basis for a child’s confidence in exploring
Using the strange situation (obs infant emo reactions to separation and reunion w/mom), Mary
Ainsworth identified three distinct attachment styles:
1. securely attached: separation = distress; reunion = seek comfort.
2. Insecure-ambivalent: separation = distress; reunion = seeks caregiver, but angry/resistant to
3. Insecure-avoidant: unaffected by sep; reunion = don’t interact w/ caregiver
4. Disorganized (maine and Solomon, 1986): reunion = disorganized and disoriented reaction
Attachment security is linked to diff aspects of socioemotional functioning in later childhood (peer
bond, emo understanding, social problem solving)
Emotions associated with Attachment styles Secure infants show positive, neg, and neutral emotions equally
Anger peaks at 14m, decreases by 33m
Ambivalent = more negativity
w/ age, respond fearfully to joy and fearful stimuli, increase in neg emo b/w 1-3yrs
Avoidant = less neg. less emotions overall, followed by secure then ambivalent. They show same
physiological arousal to SS as secure, but express negative emotions less. So, as a coping mech,
showing these emotions infrequently is unsuccessful.
w/ age, few neg emo at 1y, but increased in fear expressions by 3y.
Disorganized = anger increased w/ age.
Securely attached kids cope better w/ stress than other 3 styles.
Unlike secure, Insecure attachment = cortisol (stress hormone) lvls increase during stressful
situations while caregiver’s present
Disorganized = cortisol increased to stressor task but not play; organized = no increase.
Attachment styles have long-lasting physiological effects in systems responsible for stress
Cortisol awakening response: cortisol peaks 30-45mins after waking and declines thereafter.
Female kids and adolescents w/ anxious insecure attachment styles show flattened cortisol
awakening responses compared to secure attachment styles.
Genetic Influences on Attachment
twin studies show shared (both twins share same family environment)& non-shared (diff env exp)
env is more influential on attachment style than genes
Bowlby’s Internal working models: beliefs of what to expect in an intimate relationship, which form
basis of persisting emo bias.
Change-resistant and affect later intimate relationships (template to understanding relationships
and how to act in them)
Adult attachment Interview (George, Kaplan, & main, 1985): Examines How one feels about their
early attachment relationships w/ Qs about their relationship w/ parents, and what they remember
doing during upsetting times.
Secure/autonomous adult attachment style: adults give objective/coherent accounts of
childhood exp (+/-), and recall balance
derives from secure;
Preoccupied adult attachment style: incoherent accounts of experiences + overwhelmed w/
traumatic childhood exp
Derives from ambivalent;
Dismissing adult attachment style: distant + abstract account of childhood; can’t recall events,
by idealization or over-rationalization + show little emotion.
Derives from avoidant
Test for continuity of attachment styles by measuring childhood attachment style and then adult
attachment style later on.
Continuities in attachment styles aren’t found in all studies, which challenges Bowlby’s theory.
Lack of continuity is explained by disruption in one’s relational context (loss of parent, divorce,
illness, abuse etc explain attachment style changes
Longitudinal study (observations across lifespan yields causality) vs cross-sectional study (obs
sample at 1 time. Yields no causality, only associations.
longitudinal study = make causal inferences if effect of early attachment styles on adult
attachment styles by comparing data collected at 2 points in time. Cross-sectional = eg) association b/w early attachment (measured in adulthood) and another
aspect of adult functioning (marital conflict). Can’t conclude that childhood exp influenced adult
functioning, instead two constructs measured in adulthood are related
Securely attached infants = self-reliant, independent, self-confident, high self-esteem, social
competence, and emo reg in preshool
Attachment representations affect parent’s abilities to exhibit sensitive parenting, which in turn
influences whildren’s development of secure attachment
Influence of adult attachment on infant attachment is weak and this transmission is not
Continuities of attachment styles occur, but life events affect these models.
The Bridge Between attachment and Emotions
Attachment styles indicate how emotional interactions are handled by the child and caregivers.
Secure attachment = mutually responsive orientation: when parent-child relationships include
mutual responsiveness, positivity, harmony promote child’s eager, willing stance toward the other
Kids develop subsequent conscious and moral conduct in preschool year
Lowered lvls of externalizing in children
Parental Relationships in Children’s Emotional Organization
Parents’ Responsiveness to Children’s Internal States, contingent responding in infancy, and the
ways in which parents talk to children about emotions and respond to some of their emotion
displays but not others, all shape children’s emotions
Parents’ Responsiveness to Children’s Internal States
Parental Responsiveness: ways in which parents are sympathetic and responsive to kids internal
Parental sensitivity: mother is sensitive to baby’s signals, interprets it accurately, and resp
o Leads to secure attachment, and better life outcomes: enhanced moral dev, better lang
and literacy, few b probs, and a more developed theory of mind.
Studies on causal role of maternal sensitivity show similarities observed in sibling
attachment styles can be partially explained by similarities in parental sensitivity
o Meta-analysis found parenting programs that increase parental sensitivity increased
child’s secure attachment.
Looking at consistent responding b/w child and parent lets us see Co-construction of parent
child relationships and role of individuals in relationships
Beebe et al (2010): observed face-face parent-child (4m) interactions to understand 12m
attachment styles by observing parent’s b prior to infant’s b and found marked diffs in
disorganized babies vs secure.
o Disorganized babies = more distress, neg vocal affect, and incongruent facial-vocal
expression @ 4m; over time, inconsistent engagement
o Mothers = avert gaze, b frightened bb, show more positive facial expressions during
baby distress. Over time, unpredictable gaze patterns
Maternal interpretation of child emotion – is central to emo patterns children dev.
Parent’s interpretations is associated w/ parent’s attachment style
Secure parents = positive biased response to infant pics
Insecure = lacks that + reduced responsiveness. Dismissive parents = neg phys resp to neg infant emotion expressions bc seen as aversive
stimuli unseen in secure and preoccupied.
Synchronization: timing one’s own behaviour in relation to baby’s = Moment-by-moment
Synchronized mothers interact when babies interact = reciprocal and mutually rewarding
Non-synchronized mothers interact when babies don’t interact and vice versa
Mind-mindedness and reflective functioning
Mind-mindedness: can recognize and treat an infant as having their own desires, thoughts and
To respond, parents need to see world for baby’s perspective