Ch. 10: Emotional Development
o Preschoolers and delayed gratification with treats.
o Emotional intelligence: a set of abilities that contribute to competence in the social and
Abilities include being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustration,
control impulses and delay gratification, identify and understand one’s own and
others’ feelings, regulate one’s moods, regulate the expression of emotion in social
interactions, and empathize with others’ emotions.
Emotional Intelligence predicts how well people do in life, especially in their social
The Development of Emotions in Childhood
o Emotion: characterized by physiological responses, subjective feelings, cognitions related to
those feelings, and the desire to take action.
o Emotions are seen in terms of several components:
Physiological factors: heart and breath rate, hormone levels, etc.
The cognitions that may elicit or accompany subjective feelings
The desire to take action, including the desire to escape, approach, or change
people or things in the environment.
o Theories on the Nature and Emergence of Emotion
Discrete emotions theory: a theory about emotions, held by Tomkins, Izard, and
others, in which emotions are viewed as innate and discrete from one another from
very early in life, and each emotion is believed to be packaged with a specific and
distinctive set of bodily and facial reactions.
Alan Sroufe believes there are three basic affect systems- joy/pleasure,
anger/frustration and wariness/fear- and these systems undergo developmental
change from primitive to more advanced forms during the early years of life.
Changes are largely due to infants’ expanding social experiences and their
increasingly ability to understand them.
Functionalist approach: a theory of emotion, proposed by Campos and others, that
argues that the basic function of emotions is to promote action toward achieving a
goal. In this view, emotions are not discrete from one another and vary somewhat
based on the social environment.
Emotional reactions are affected by social goals and the influence of
All agree that cognitions and experience shape emotional development.
Dynamic-systems theory: novel forms of functioning arise through the spontaneous
coordination of components interacting with each other repeatedly.
In these interactions specific cognitions, emotional feelings, and
physiological events tend to link together more closely with each repeated occasion, forming coherent “emotional interpretations” that become
increasingly coordinated each time they are co-activated.
o The Emergence of Emotion in the Early Years and Childhood
It is hard to determine exactly what emotions infants are experiencing, and it is
particularly difficult to differentiate among the various negative emotions that
young infants express.
Early smiles may be reflexive and seem to be evoked by some biological
state rather than by social interaction.
Social smiles: smiles that are directed at people. They first emerge as early
as 6 to7 weeks of age.
When infants are at least 2 months of age, they also show happiness in both
social and nonsocial contexts in which they can control a particular event.
At about 7 months of age, infants start to smile primarily at familiar people,
rather than at people in general.
The first negative emotion that is discernible in newborn infants is
generalized distress, which can be evoked by a variety of experiences
ranging from hunger and pain to overstimulation.
Fear and Distress
o By 4 months of age, infants do seem war of unfamiliar objects and
o By 6-7 months, initial signs of fear begins in appear
o Begins around 8 months and the fear of strangers intensifies and
lasts until about 2.
o Other fears also evident at 7 months include fear of novel toys, loud
noises, and sudden movements by people of objects, all of which
tend do decline after 12 months of age.
o Separation anxiety: feelings of distress that children, especially
infants and toddlers, experience when they are separated, or
expected to be separated, from individuals to whom they are
The Self-Conscious Emotions: Embarrassment, Pride, Guilt, and Shame
Self-conscious emotions: emotions such as guilt, shame, embarrassment,
and pride that relate to our sense of self and our consciousness of others’
reactions to us.
Believed that these emotions emerge in the second year because that is
when children gain the understanding that they are entities distinct from
other people and begin to develop a sense of self.
At 15-24 months, some children start to show embarrassment when they
are made the center of attention. By age 3 children’s pride is increasingly tied to the level of their
Guilt is associated with empathy for others and involves feelings of remorse
and regret about one’s behavior, as well as the desire to undo the
consequences of that behavior.
Shame is focused on the child themselves: they feel that they are exposed,
and they often feel like hiding.
Normal Emotional Development in Childhood
The causes of emotion continue to change in childhood.
Early to middle adolescence is marked by an increase in the frequency or
intensity of negative emotions and a decrease in positive emotion.
Clinical depression is 15% from about 15-18 years old.
Major depression is characterized by: depressed mood most of the time;
marked diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities; weight loss;
insomnia or excessive sleeping; motor agitations; fatigue or loss of energy;
feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt; diminished
ability to think or concentrate; recurrent thoughts of death.
Poorer children are prone to major depression.
Causes of depression:
o Low levels of family engagement, support, and acceptance.
o Maladaptive behaviors: seeing oneself and others in an excessively
negative way and feel incompetent and worthless and view the
world as cruel and unfair.
o Lack regulation and skills needed for positive social interactions.
o Combination of personal vulnerability and external stressful factors.
Regulation of Emotion
o Emotional self-regulation: the process of initiating, inhibiting, or modulating internal feeling
states and related physiological processes, cognitions, and behaviors.
Internal feeling states (the subjective experience of emotion)
Emotion-related cognitions (thoughts about one’s desires or goals, or one’s
interpretation of an evocative situation)
Emotion-related physiological processes (heart rate and hormonal or other
physiological reactions that can change as a function of regulating one’s feeling
states and thoughts)
Emotion-related behavior (actions or facial expressions related to one’s feelings)
o The Development of Emotional Regulation
Characterized by three general age-related patterns of change Infant’s transition from their relying almost totally on other people to help
them regulate their emotions to their being increasingly able to self-
regulate during early childhood.
Use of cognitive strategies to control negative emotions.
Involves the selection of appropriate regulating strategies.
The Shift from Caregiver Regulation to Self-Regulation
By 6 months of age, infants show the first signs of emotional self-regulation.
o Occasionally, they can self-soothe: engage in repetitive rubbing or
stroking of their body or clothing
By ages 1 and 2, infants distract themselves from distressing stimuli by
selectively averting their attention.
Instead of pouting or throwing a temper tantrum when they can’ have their
own way, children can increasingly manage their negative emotional