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Emotional Development & Temperament. Modules 9-2 & 9-3. Emotional Development. Basic emotions are universal They include happiness, fear, anger, surprise, sadness, disgust, interest, etc. Facial expressions (also universal) are the most reliable cues. What is an emotion?.

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Emotional Development & Temperament

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Emotional development temperament

Emotional Development&Temperament

Modules 9-2 & 9-3

Emotional development

Emotional Development

  • Basic emotions are universal

  • They include happiness, fear, anger, surprise, sadness, disgust, interest, etc.

  • Facial expressions (also universal) are the most reliable cues

What is an emotion

What is an emotion?

  • Emotions are responses, including physiological responses

  • Sense or experience of feeling

  • Leads to expression, behavior; can be a motive

  • Related to thoughts and beliefs as well as immediate experience

Functionalist view of emotion

Functionalist view of Emotion

  • What is their purpose?

  • Emotions are means of communicating and play a role in relationships.

  • They are also linked to an individual’s goals and motivation toward progress and overcoming obstacles.

  • Subjective evaluation of good and bad; comparable to pain in the physical realm

Emotional competence sarnii

Emotional Competence - Sarnii

  • Awareness of emotional state

  • Detecting other’s emotions

  • Using emotional vocabulary appropriately

  • Empathy and sympathy

  • Realizing that inner emotional states do not always correspond to expression

  • Awareness that emotional expression plays a large role in relationships

  • Adaptively coping with negative emotions

What is emotional intelligence eq

What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?

  • Gardners “interpersonal intelligence”

  • Salovey & Mayer (1990): ability to perceive and express emotion accurately

    • MSCEIT (2002) Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test

  • Daniel Goleman (1995) Published a book, “Emotional Intelligence”

What is emotional intelligence eq1

What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?

Salovey & Mayer (1990): ability to perceive and express emotion accurately, including:

taking perspective

understanding the roles of emotion in relationships

using feelings to facilitate thought

managing emotions such as anger

Emotions gone awry

Emotions Gone Awry

  • . . . Are the basis for some mental disorders.

    • Clinical depression

    • Bipolar disorder

    • Anxiety disorders

    • Intermittent explosive disorder

    • Antisocial personality disorder

Erikson s psychosocial theory of infant toddler personality

Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory of Infant & Toddler Personality

  • Basic Trust vs. Mistrust

    • 1st year of life

    • Quality of the caregiver’s behavior

  • Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt

    • 2nd year of life

    • Reasonable expectations for impulse control

Emotional development in infancy

Emotional Development in Infancy

  • Primary emotions

    • Emerge early in life (first year)

    • Are culturally universal

    • Include

      • SurpriseSadness

      • JoyFear

      • AngerDisgust

Emotional milestones

Emotional Milestones

Birthattraction & withdrawal

2-3 mos.Social smile, respond to

facial expression

3-4 mos.Laugh at active stimuli

6-8 mos.Anger, fear, attachment

8-12 mos.Social referencing

18-30 mos.Self-conscious emotions

(shame, guilt, pride)

Emotional development temperament


  • Appears in the 2nd half of the 1st year

  • Intensifies & remains until 18+ months

  • Stranger anxiety is the most frequent expression of fear

    • Stranger & situational characteristics

  • Separation protest also appears

  • Partially depends upon temperament and experiences



  • Appears about 6-8 months

  • Generalized distress is present in young infants

  • Anger in older babies may be in response to frustration

Social referencing

Social Referencing

  • Reading others’ emotional cues to determine how to respond to a situation

  • Infants become better at this in the second year of life

  • We still do this as adults, e.g., panic, riots, looting, helping behavior

Regulation of emotions

Regulation of Emotions

  • Key dimension of development

  • Ability increases with age & development

  • Shifts from external to internal in infancy

  • Individuals develop strategies for this

  • With age children develop greater capacity to:

    • Modulate arousal

    • Select & manage situations

    • Finding effective ways to cope with stress

Emotional self regulation

Emotional Self-Regulation

  • Strategies used to adjust one’s own emotional state to a comfortable level

  • Young infants turn away, suck, are easily overwhelmed

  • Ability to self-regulate increases with brain development, experience, ability to shift attention and to move

  • Older infants distract themselves, leave the situation

Emotions and the self

Emotions and the Self

  • Self-conscious emotions:

    • Do not appear in animals

    • May not be universal

    • Require self-awareness

    • Emerge later (1 ½ - 2 ½ years)

Self conscious emotions

Self-conscious Emotions

  • Include empathy, embarrassment, envy, pride, shame, guilt

  • Involve injury to or enhancement of the sense of self

  • Appear as the sense of self emerges

  • Require adult instruction in when to feel proud, ashamed or guilty

Self conscious emotions1

Self-conscious Emotions

  • Shame, pride & guilt

    • Pride most often occurs in response to successful achievement

    • Shame is a global response to a threat to the self, also other-directed; reflects inability

    • Guilt is in response to specific failure, reflects culpability

  • These emotions serve to regulate the child’s behavior

Emotional development self conscious emotions

Emotional DevelopmentSelf-conscious emotions

  • By age 3, these are clearly linked to self-evaluation

  • Parents should give feedback about performance, not the worth of the child. This causes intense self-conscious emotional experience.

Self conscious emotions2

Self-conscious emotions

  • Beginning in early childhood, shame is associated with feelings of personal inadequacy, withdrawal and depression, anger and aggression.

    • Underuse shame in our culture

  • Guilt is related to good adjustment.

  • Reasons for guilt or shame must be considered.

Emotional development ages 2 4

Emotional Development – Ages 2-4

  • Emotional vocabulary expands rapidly

  • Come to understand causes, consequences, and behavioral signs of emotion

  • Emphasize external factors

  • Can predict what people will do based on emotion

Emotional development ages 2 41

Emotional Development – Ages 2-4

  • Small children do not deal well with conflicting cues (mixed emotions).

  • Securely attached children are advanced in emotional understanding.

  • Emotionally negative children experience more peer rejection.

Maternal depression child development

Maternal Depression & Child Development

  • Babies of depressed mothers are irritable and have attachment difficulties

  • They sometimes withdraw into depression, or imitate parental anger

  • They can become impulsive & antisocial

  • They develop a negative world view, lack self-confidence, & perceive others as threatening

Middle late childhood

Middle & Late Childhood

  • Increasing

    • awareness of the need for emotional management

    • ability to understand complex emotions

    • tendency to take events, situation into account

  • Improved ability to conceal negative emotions

  • Use self-directed strategies to redirect feelings: distractions, denial, redirection

Gender differences emotional expression

Gender Differences – Emotional Expression

  • Elementary School

    • Boys hide emotions like sadness more

    • Girls hide disappointment

  • Adolescence

    • Girls feel more sadness, shame, guilt

    • Boys deny their emotions



  • Moodiness and extreme, but fleeting emotions

  • 5th to 9th grade, 50% decrease in being “very happy”

  • Environmental circumstances may be more important than hormones to this process

Emotions in adulthood

Emotions in Adulthood

  • Older adults report:

    • Fewer negative emotions

    • Better emotional control

    • More positive emotions

  • More selective social relationships

  • May have to do with the passage of time



  • Stable individual differences in quality and intensity of emotional reaction, activity level, attention, and emotional self-regulation

  • New York Longitudinal Study (1956), Thomas & Chess, most comprehensive study of temperament to date

    • 141 children followed from infancy into adulthood



  • NYLS findings

  • Temperament is related to whether a person will experience psychological problems

  • Parenting practices can modify children’s emotional styles considerably

Temperament dimensions

Temperament - Dimensions

  • Activity level

  • Rhythmicity

  • Distractibility

  • Approach/withdrawal

  • Adaptability

  • Attention span/persistence

  • Intensity of reaction

  • Threshold of responsiveness

    • Quality of mood

Temperament types

Temperament - Types

  • Easy (40%) – quickly establish regular routines, generally cheerful, adapts well to new experiences

  • Difficult (10%) – irregular, slow to accept new experiences, reacts negatively and intensely

  • Slow-to-warm-up (15%) – mild reactions, adjusts slowly to new experience

    • (35% not classified)

Measuring temperament

Measuring Temperament

  • Parental interviews or questionnaires.

    • Convenient

    • Depth of knowledge

    • Biased & subjective

  • Behavior ratings by pediatricians, teachers, and others

  • Observation

Is temperament biological

Is Temperament Biological?

  • It is often believed to be biological.

  • Identical twins have more similar temperaments than fraternal ones.

  • There are consistent ethnic and sex differences.

  • These may be explained by parenting differences as well as genetic differences.

Is temperament biological1

Is Temperament Biological?

  • However, it only has low to moderate stability from one developmental period to the next.

  • Temperament develops with age.

  • It can be modified by experiences, but not from one extreme to the other.

Temperament continuity with adulthood

Temperament: Continuity with Adulthood

  • Easy babies well adjusted in early adulthood

  • Difficult babies have social problems

    • Men – less education

    • Women – marital problems

  • Patterns of inhibition & emotional control also appear to persist

Temperament goodness of fit

Temperament & Goodness-of-Fit

  • Creation of child-rearing environments that recognize temperament and encourage adaptive functioning.

  • Difficult children are at risk for adjustment problems because they withdraw and react negatively.

  • Western parents tend to resort to angry, punitive discipline. The child responds with defiance/disobedience. Parents give in and model inconsistency.

Kagan s behavioral inhibition

Kagan’s Behavioral Inhibition

  • Shy, subdued, timid child

    • Vs.

  • Sociable, bold, extraverted child

  • Inhibition to the unfamiliar

  • Begins about 7-9 months of age

  • Shyness is considered a negative in

    American culture (social anxiety).

Biological inhibition pattern

Biological Inhibition Pattern

  • High, stable heartrate

  • High cortisol levels

  • High activity in right frontal lobes

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