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Psychology of Human Growth and Development
Development of emotions
cognitive development part 2
Psychosocial development
Development of emotions
Language development
Cognitive development part 1
Perceptual development part 2
Development of attachment
Nature versus nature
Introduction to developmental theories
Prenatal development and chromosomal abnormalities
Prenatal development and teratogens
Brain development
Motor development
Physical growth
Perceptual development

The Development of emotions

what are emotions

         Subject reactions to the environment

         Usually experienced cognitively as either pleasant or unpleasant

         Generally accompanied by some form of physiological arousal

         Generally have a behavioral expression



components of an emotion

         Internal bodily responses

         Belief / cognitive appraisal that a particular positive state of affairs is occurring

         Facial expression

         Reactions to the emotions


primary emotions

Grief, Fear, Anger, Joy, Trust, Disgust, Anticipation, Surprise (Plutchik, 1980)


primary functions of emotions

Serve important functions in organizing the ways in which babies interact with others in their social worlds.

         Communicate with others

         Regulate their world


theoretical perspectives on emotional development


v      genetic-maturational perspective


         emerges at roughly the same age in different cultures.

         Twin studies

         premature infants - points to the genetic-maturational factors in onset of smiling.

         development of neural systems important for emotion processing.


v      cognitive

         Cognitive perspective focuses on the infants growing ability to acquire knowledge about the world.

        Representations and Emotions

        Eg: Tension – Relaxation cycle (Scoufe, 1996)


v      learning

        Useful in explaining individual differences in emotional expression.


methods to distinguish emotions from infants expressions


         Discriminative Facial movement coding system (MAX) (Izard et al. 1995)

        Method to distinguish among infants expressions of all the emotions

        Coding system that pays careful attention to changes in a baby’s facial expression and her bodily movements


development of emotion

        Evolution of emotions should follow general principles of development

        Babies respond to emotional provocations in similar and predictable ways at specific ages


Early weeks

         Show distress by crying

         First emotion to appear: Startle disgust, distress (in response to pain)

         Rudimentary smile / reflex smile (unrelated to external events)

1 month

         Generalized distress, may be irritable by late afternoon

         True smile (between 4 and 6 weeks)

2 month

         Shows pleasure, mildly aroused by sight of toy

         Social smile

3 month

         Excitement and boredom appear

         Cries when bored

         May show wariness and frustration

4 month

         Laughs especially at certain sounds

         Crying lessens

         Gurgles with pleasure

         Shows beginning of anger


5 month

         Usually gleeful and pleased

         Sometimes frustrated

         Shows primitive resistant behaviours e.g.: turns head if dislikes food

         Smiles at own image in mirror.

         May begin to show wariness to strangers


6 month

         Matches emotions to others

         Fear and anger may appear

7 month

         Fear and anger





8 month

         more individuality in emotional expression

9 month

         Shows negative emotions when restrained

         Frowns when annoyed

         Actively seeks others’ comfort when tired

         Nighttime crying may reappear

         Recognizes self in mirror

         True fear 2nd phase of development of fear

10 month

         Intense positive and negative emotions

         Occasionally testy

         Duchenne smiles

11 month

         Greater variability in emotions

         Individual temperament is more evident

12 month

         Becomes distressed when others are distressed

         Cries when something not to his / her liking

         May show signs of jealousy

         Laughs often at won cleverness

15 month

         More mood swings

         More caring to age-mates

         May fret or cry often but usually briefly

18 month

         Can be restless and stubborn.

         May sometimes have tantrums

         Sometimes shy

         Shows shame

         Uses objects like a blanket or a favorite stuffed animal to soothe self

21 month

         Makes some effort to control negative emotions

24 month

         Responds to others moods

         Can be upset by dreams

         Begins to understand emotional cultural display rules.

30 month

         Begins to show shame and embarrassment

36 month

         Shows guilt and pride

48 – 60 month

         Shows increased understanding and use of emotional display rules

72 month

         Begins to understand how two or more emotions can occur simultaneously.

         Can be upset by dreams



factors influencing emotional displays

         Individual differences in the frequency of emotional displays among babies

        Social responsiveness of the environment



gender differences among infants

         E.g.: Weinberg (1992)

         6-month old boys displayed more positive and more negative expressions of emotion than girls.

         E.g.: Kohnstamm (1989)

         Boys cried more in response to frustration

         Boys took longer to recover when upset than girls


recognising THE EMOTIONS of others

         Learning how to recognize the emotion that other people express

         Harder for babies to learn to recognize expressions of emotions in others than it is for them to learn to express emotions accurately themselves.


         Face to face interaction

      Facial expressions are an effective way for parents to communicate their feelings and wishes to a child who cannot yet understand speech


         Order of recognition of emotions

      Babies recognize positive emotions far more frequently than negative ones

      They recognize joy earlier than anger


         Correlation between production and recognition of emotion

      Toddlers who send clear emotional signals also tend to be good at identifying emotions.


         Age improvements

      This ability improves with age


regulating emotions

         methods to regulate emotions

o        Individuals regulate their emotions in a wide variety of ways eg:

         reappraisal (changing the way one thinks about a potentially emotion-eliciting event)

         suppression (changing the way one responds behaviorally to an emotion-eliciting event).



        Putting thumb in their mouth helps to soothe them



        begin using more deliberate  methods to regulate their emotions

        methods of emotional control continue to change as they grow older

         School age children

        External agents exert even more control over their emotional expression.

o        Emotional expression becomes: less frequent etc.


        increases in the use of reappraisal

        decreases in the use of suppression



development of emotional understanding

        emotional scripts

         These scripts enable the child to identify the type of emotional reaction likely to accompany a particular kind of event.

         Scripts gain in complexity as they mature.

        awarenes of multiple emotions


         awareness that one can have:

o        more than one feeling at a time

o        experience two or more conflicting feelings at the same time

         clear developmental progression in their ability to understand this


        awarenes of inner states and emotions

         Ability to realize that people’s emotional expressions are produced by inner states and are not responsive solely to the characteristics of the situation.

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