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Psychology (9,695)
PSYC21H3 (41)


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Carly Prusky

Ch5: Emotions: Thoughts about feelings What are emotions? o Are complex (can be pleasant or unpleasant); involve a reaction to something that is followed by physiological arousal that are communicated to others by an expression or action. - for eg: baby reacts to a new infant formula with disgust by spitting up or crying. But as babies grow older they learn to hide emotions – “lexicon” used to regulate emotional expressions Primary Emotions: fear, joy, disgust, surprise, sadness & interest; they emerge in life and do not require retrospection or self-reflection Secondary or self-conscious emotions: pride, shame, guilt, jealousy, embarrassment and empathy; they emerge later and depend on a sense of self and an awareness of other ppl’s reactions Why are emotions imp? 1) window to children’s likes/dislikes – they are a way that children let other ppl know how they feel 2) linked to children’s social success- helps solve intellectual problems 3) linked to children’s mental and physical health Perspectives on emotional development  biological perspective - Explaining the basic emotions - Emotional expressions are innate (regardless of how babies were born – premature baby or normal baby; they start to smile at 46 weeks postconception) and universal (happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, etc) - each emotion is expressed using facial muscles. Eg: left cerebral hemisphere controls expression of joy whereas the right hemisphere controls expression of fear - studies show that identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins in terms of their first smile, the amt they smile, the onset of their fear reactions to strangers and their general degree of emotional inhibition  learning perspective - explaining the individual differences in emotional expression - the frequency with which children smile and laugh depends on the caregiver’s behavior bc when the parent responds with enthusiasm to the child, it encourages the child to smile more and hence the baby’s rate of smiling increases - children can be classically conditioned to fear the doctor who gives a painful shot during his first visit. Children may acquire fear through operant conditioning, for eg, after a painful fall from climbing a ladder - children also learn to fear things by observing the envi, for eg, if mother screams after seeing a spider - parents can manage the child’s emotions by rewarding or punishing certain emotional displays  functional perspective - to help ppl achieve their social and survival goals (eg: making a new friend or staying out of danger) - joy & hope -> new friendship - fear -> threatening situations - in both the situations, emotions help a person reach their goal - emotional signals provide feedback that guides other ppl’s behavior. For eg, if the would-be friend reacts in +ve manner, the child feels happy and pursues the interaction and vice versa with –ve response. Similarly, if a child smiles at the caregiver, the caregiver will further pursue the interaction bc of a +ve response from the baby - memories of past emotions shape how ppl respond to new situations, and thus help them adapt to the envi and maintain social relationships. For eg, successful friendships make the child more confident in future friendships Development of emotions  primary emotions o joy - reflected in infant’s smiling and laughter - reflex smile are spontaneous and in-built; interpreted as signs of pleasure; reflex smiles have an adaptive value bc ensures caregiver’s attention- means of communication and an aid to survival - btwn 3-8 weeks of age, infants start to smile due to external stimuli including faces, voices, light touches & gentle bouncing as well as to internal states. They are interested in ppl that talk in high-pitched voices eliciting social smiles in babies btwn 2-6 months - social smiles: an upturned mouth in response to a human face or voice which first occurs, when the infant is abt 2 months old - duchenne smile reflects genuine pleasure, shown in crinkles around the eyes a well as upturned mouth - babies don’t smile equally as often. It depends on the social responsiveness of the envi - infants that rcv more attention smile more than infants rcving low level of attention - girls smile more often than boys - infants amt of laughter and smiling change with age. Auditory stimuli elicited few laughs at any age. Tactile stimuli elicited a substantial amt of laughter but only at 7-9 months, visual and social stimuli elicited more laughter overall and the likelihood of this laughter increased with age - 12-24 month old babies enjoyed activities in which they could engage in like covering and uncovering mother’s face with a cloth o fear - there are two phases for this emotion - first phase, by 6 months, infants develop wariness and distress when they encounter unfamiliar adults - 2 phase, by 7-9 months, infants show true fear to ppl they don’t recognize or don’t like. Infants tend to cry at their emotional reaction in this stage - stranger distress or fear of strangers: a negative emotion to unfamiliar ppl which emerges in infants around age of 9 months; inevitable and universal. However, if some cultures emphasize shared caregiving among relatives, the infants may not be as afraid of strangers. But for those cultures where parents don’t allow shared caregiving bc they’re afraid of terrorism, the infants show intense fear - whether an infant is really scared or not depends on who the stranger is, how he or she behaves, the setting in which the encounter occurs- a variety of variables - a baby’s reaction also depends on how the parent’s react to the stranger. For eg: mother smiles to stranger, infant will react +ve. Mother show –ve reaction to stranger, infant starts to cry - social referencing: process of “reading: emotional cues in others to determine how to act in uncertain situations. Infants use parents as a social reference point in unfamiliar setting - another factor: is how much control the infant has over the stranger’s behavior. If infant cries, the stranger steps away -> babies become less fearful. Babies are also less scared of child strangers in comparison to adult strangers - separation anxiety: fear of being separated from a caregiver which peaks at abt 15 months of age - visual cliff used to test infant’s fear of heights. At 6 months, infants refuse to crawl across due to fear of dropping on the floor underneath - younger children interpret fear using physical characteristics and this changes to mental characteristics as they grow older (eg: bee won’t sting me if I stand here, rather than “cry bc bee can sting me anytime) o anger - newborns’ first –ve expressions are not anger, but express startle, disgust and distress - infant start showing anger in 2-3 months of age - elicited by pain and frustration o sadness - reaction to pain and frustration, occurs less often than anger in infants - infants feel sad when there is a communication break down btwn the parent & child  secondary emotions play an imp role in social development o pride and shame - when children are pleased abt their accomplishments (pride) - when they find someone finds them deficient (shame) – children express it by lowering their face, hiding - solving a task that was not hard produced joy, but succeeding a difficult task produced pride - failing a difficult task caused sadness but failing an easy task caused shame o jealousy - when a sibling gets more of a parent’s attention - when a friend flirts with a teen’s new romantic partner - the way the children showed jealousy depends on age - younger children displayed jealousy with expressions of distress whereas older children showed anger when they’re jealous o guilt - “when I hit my brother too hard and his nose started to bleed” - “when I didn’t submit my hw bc I was too lazy to do it” - younger children focus on simple outcomes and older children understand that they themselves caused the outcome , they do not need to feel guilty o empathy - a shared emotional response that parallels to another person’s feelings Individual differences in emotional expressiveness Infants are all diff in terms of how they react to emotionally arousing situations; related to the child’s overall adjustment Development of emotional understanding Being able
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