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Chapter 4

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY311H1
Professor
Ian Spence
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 4 Emotional Development and Temperament An Overview of Emotions and Emotional Development - Emotions have several components: o Feelings: positive or negative in character o Physiological correlates: changes in heart rate, galvanic skin response, brain wave activity etc. o Cognitions: elicit or accompany feelings and physiological changes o Goals: desire to take actions - Two Theories of Emotional Development o Discrete emotions theory  Evolutionary overtones, tracing back to Darwin  Specific emotions are biologically programmed, accompanied by distinct sets of bodily and facial cues, and discriminable from early in life  Argue that many basic human emotions are inborn products of our evolutionary history  Each “discrete” emotion is accompanied by a particular set of facial and bodily reactions and is apparent very early in life o Functionalist perspective  Believe that newborns and young infants do not display discrete emotions  Major purpose of an emotion is to establish, maintain, or change one’s relationship with the environment to accomplish a goal  Successful adaptation to their environments often requires children to control their emotions rather than expressing them freely  Learning to regulate emotions to maintain social harmony or achieve other important goals Appearance and Development of Discrete Emotions - Sequencing of Discrete Emotions in the First Year o At birth, babies show facial expressions of interest, distress, disgust, and contentment o Other primary/basic emotions emerge between 2-7 months (anger, sadness, joy, fear)  May have deep biological roots in that they emerge at the same age in all normal infants and are displayed and interpreted similarly in all cultures o Each of these primary emotions changes over time from the form it took and the functions it served when it first appeared - Development of a Positive Emotion: Happiness o By end of second month, babies begin to display social smiles that are most seen in interactions with caregivers who are likely to be delighted at a baby’s positive reaction to them o By 3 months, likely to smile at real people o 3-6 months, display raised-cheek and open-mouth smiles while gazing or interacting pleasantly with a smiling caregiver o 6-7 months, reserve their biggest smiles for familiar companions and may often seem wary rather than happy to encounter a person they don’t know - Development of Negative Emotions o Particular negative emotions begin to appear over first 6 months of life o Red-faced anger, sadness both increase with age o As young infants increasingly recognize that they can exert control over objects and people in their environment, they begin to react negatively to a loss of control or to people who are thwarting their objectives o By 4 months of age, anger and safes are clearly discrete emotions that convey different messages and have different physiological consequences  Sad: become less animated – have given up and their sadness is marked by increase in adrenocortical indicators of stress  Anger: vigorous arm movements, but few signs of adrenocortical activity o Fear and fearful reactions  Fear is one of the last primary emotions to emerge  Appears 6-7 months  Two particular fears:  (1) Stranger anxiety: wary reaction that infants and toddlers often display when approached by an unfamiliar person  This peaks at 8-10 months and gradually declines in intensity over the second year  (2) Separation anxiety: wary reaction that infants and toddlers often display when separated form persons to whom they are attached  Normally appears at 6-8 months, peaks at 14-18 months and becomes less frequent after  Evolutionary theorists claim that many situations infants face qualify as natural cues to danger- situations that have been so frequently associated with danger throughout human evolutionary history that a fear/avoidance response has become biologically programmed  Cross-cultural variation in separation anxiety  Cognitive-developmental theorists view these as natural outgrows of an infant’s perceptual and cognitive development  Infants have developed schemes for the faces of familiar companions and these companions’ probable whereabouts at home  Strange face that is discrepant with the infants’ schemes for caregivers appears and upsets the children because they cant explain who this is - Development of Self-Conscious Emotions o Later into second year, infants begin to display secondary/complex emotions  Embarrassment, shame, guilt, envy, pride o Often called self-conscious emotions because each involves some damage to or enhancement of the self o Evaluative embarrassment characterized by nervous smiles, self-touching etc.  Stems from negative evaluation of one’s performance and it more stressful than the simple embarrassment of being the object of others’ attention o Shame vs. guilt  Guilt implies that we have failed to live up to our obligations to other people  Shame is more self-focused than based on concern for others; causes children to focus on themselves and may motivate them to hide out and avoid other people o Parental influence on self-conscious emotions  Mothers who accentuated the negative by being critical of failures tended to have children who displayed high levels of shame after a failure and little pride after a success  Children more inclined to feel ashamed if parents belittle them, whereas they are more likely to feel guilty if parents criticize their inappropriate behavior by emphasizing why it was wrong - Later Developments in Emotional Expressivity o What changes most in childhood are the situations or events that trigger various emotions o Anxieties and fears shift from threats that they cannot explain or cope with directly to important real-life issues o Downward trend in mood has generally leveled off by mid-adolescence and becomes more positive again in early adulthood and beyond o Physiological and hormonal changes that accompany sexual maturation may contribute to increased moodiness and restlessness o Dramatic increase in daily hassles with parents, teachers, peers is primarily responsible for the less positive trend in emotional experience in adolescence o Elevated levels of stress also contributor to negative affect of adolescents o Girls more susceptible than boys for two reasons:  Report more stressful experiences with family members, peers, and romantic partners than boys  React more negatively to these kinds of stressors as well Identifying and Understanding Others’ Emotions - Early Identification and Interpretation of Emotions o Some debate about when babies begin to recognize and interpret the facial expressions of emotion that others display o Although 3 month olds prefer to look at photos of happy faces, these preferences may reflect their powers of visual discrimination and do not necessarily imply that infants interpret various expressions as “happy” or “angry” o Some evidence suggests otherwise  3 month olds became gleeful in response to happy expression and distressed by mothers’ anger or sadness o Social referencing  The use of others’ emotional expressions to gain information or infer the meaning of ambiguous situations  7-10 months o Emotions, emotional understanding, and early social development  Baby’s displays of emotion serve a communicative function that is likely to affect the behavior of caregivers  Infant emotions are important in that they promote social contact and help caregivers adjust their behavior to the infant’s needs and goals - Later Developments in Identifying Others’ Emotions o 3-5 years old: children become better and better at correctly identifying and labeling the simple emotions on people’s faces o The more complex emotions such as pride, shame, guilt are not correctly labeled until the early to middle grade-school years o Facial cues are not the only information that children use to recognize others’ emotions – dancing as well - Understanding the Causes of Emotions o Over preschool and early grade-school years, children show rapid advances in their ability to identify emotions that other people feel in particular situations o Everyone agrees that:  Children learn a great deal about the causes of all primary emotions during the preschool period  It may be well into the late-elementary-school or middle-school years before they are proficient at telling us the situations and circumstances likely to evoke pride, shame, guilt etc. and other complex emotions o Other milestones in emotional understanding  Even 4-5 years olds know that a persons’ current feelings may stem from reflects on past events  5-7: understand that they can feel two compatible emotions at the same time  8: recognize that the same situation may elicit very different emotions from different individuals  6-10: acknowledge that they can have positive and negative feelings about the same situation - Parental Contributions to Early Emotional Understanding o Conversations between parents and children about emotions and their causes play crucial role in fostering children’s emotional understanding o Emotional dialogues with children become richer throughout preschool period o Discussing emotions of storybook characters etc, o Parents differ in how they choose to talk about emotions  Some use elaborative s
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