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Invitation to the Life Span by Kathleen Stassen Berger. Chapter 4 – The First Two Years: Psychosocial Development. PowerPoint Slides developed by Martin Wolfger and Michael James Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington. Emotional Development. Infants’ Emotions Smiling and Laughing

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invitation to the life span by kathleen stassen berger

Invitation to the Life Spanby Kathleen Stassen Berger

Chapter 4 – The First Two Years: Psychosocial Development

PowerPoint Slidesdeveloped by

Martin Wolfger and Michael James

Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington

emotional development
Emotional Development

Infants’ Emotions

  • Smiling and Laughing
    • Social smile (6 weeks): Evoked by viewing human faces
    • Laughter (3 to 4 months): Often associated with curiosity
  • Anger
    • First expressions at around 6 month
    • Healthy response to frustration
  • Sadness
    • Indicates withdrawal and is accompanied by increased production of cortisol
    • Stressful experience for infants
emotional development1
Fear:Emerges at about 9 months in response to people, things, or situations

Stranger wariness:

Infant no longer smiles at any friendly face but cries or looks frightened when an unfamiliar person moves too close

Separation anxiety:

Tears, dismay, or anger when a familiar caregiver leaves.

If it remains strong after age 3, it may be considered an emotional disorder.

Emotional Development
emotional development2
Emotional Development

Toddlers’ Emotions

  • Anger and fear become less frequent and more focused
  • Laughing and crying become louder and more discriminating
  • New emotions:
    • Pride
    • Shame
    • Embarrassment
    • Guilt
  • Require an awareness of other people
  • Emerge from family interactions, influenced by the culture
emotional development3
Emotional Development
  • Self-awareness
    • A person’s realization that he or she is a distinct individual whose body, mind, and actions are separate from those of other people.
  • First 4 months: Infants have no sense of self and may see themselves as part of their mothers.
  • 5 months: Infants begin to develop an awareness of themselves as separate from their mothers.
  • 15-18 months: Emergence of the Me-self
    • Sense of self as the “object of one’s knowledge”
emotional development4
Mirror Recognition

Classic experiment (M. Lewis & Brooks, 1978)

Babies aged 9–24 months looked into a mirror after a dot of rouge had been put on their noses.

None of the babies younger than 12 months old reacted as if they knew the mark was on them.

15- to 24-month-olds: Showed self-awareness by touching their own noses with curiosity.

Emotional Development
brain maturation and the emotions
Brain Maturation and the Emotions
  • Synesthesia
    • The stimulation of one sensory stimulus to the brain (sound, sight, touch, taste, or smell) by another.
    • Common in infants because boundaries between sensory parts of the cortex are less distinct.
  • Cross-modal perception
    • Infant associates textures with vision, sounds with smells, own body with the bodies of others
    • Basis for early social understanding
  • Synesthesia of emotions
    • Infant’s cry can be triggered by pain, fear, tiredness, or excitement; laughter can turn to tears.
    • Infants’ emotions are difficult to predict because of the way their brains are activated.
social impulses
Social Impulses
  • Emotional Self-regulation
    • Directly connected to maturation of the anterior cingulate gyrus
  • Particular people begin to arouse specific emotions
    • Toddlers get angry when a teasing older sibling approaches them or react with fear when entering the doctor’s office.
    • Memory triggers specific emotions based on previous experiences.
  • Hypothalamus
    • Regulates various bodily functions and hormone production
    • May grow more slowly in stressed than in nonstressed infants
  • Abuse (form of chronic stress)
    • Potential long-term effects on a child’s emotional development
    • High levels of stress hormones indicative of emotional impairment
    • Excessive stress in infants must be prevented
  • Stress can be avoided by:
    • providing new mothers with help and emotional support
    • involving new fathers in the care of the infant
    • strengthening the relationship between mother and father
theories of infant psychosocial development
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development



  • Oral stage(first year): The mouth is the young infant’s primary source of gratification
  • Anal stage(second year): Infant’s main pleasure comes from the anus (e.g. sensual pleasure of bowel movements and the psychological pleasure of controlling them)

Potential conflicts:

  • Oral fixation: If a mother frustrates her infant’s urge to suck, the child may become an adult who is stuck (fixated) at the oral stage (e.g. eats, drinks, chews, bites, or talks excessively)
  • Anal personality: Overly strict or premature toilet training may result in an adult with an unusually strong need for control, regularity and cleanliness
theories of infant psychosocial development1
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development


  • Trust versus Mistrust
    • Infants learn basic trust if the world is a secure place where their basic needs are met
  • Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt
    • Toddlers either succeed or fail in gaining a sense of self-rule over their actions and their bodies
  • Early problems can create an adult who is suspicious and pessimistic (mistrusting) or who is easily shamed (insufficient autonomy)
theories of infant psychosocial development2
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development


  • Parents mold an infant’s emotions and personality through reinforcement and punishment
  • Social learning
    • The acquisition of behavior patterns by observing the behavior of others
    • Demonstrated in the classic Bobo Doll study by Albert Bandura
theories of infant psychosocial development3
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development


  • Working model: Set of assumptions that the individual uses to organize perceptions and experiences
    • A person might assume that other people are trustworthy and be surprised by evidence that this working model of human behavior is erroneous.
    • The child’s interpretation of early experiences is more important than the experiences themselves.
    • New working models can be developed based on new experiences or reinterpretation of previous experiences.
theories of infant psychosocial development4
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development


  • A theory that underlies the values and practices of a culture but is not usually apparent to the people within the culture.
  • Example:
    • Culture’s ethnotheory includes the belief in reincarnation
    • Children are not expected to show respect for adults, but adults must show respect for their reborn ancestors  indulgent child-rearing
    • Perceived as extremely lenient by Western cultures
theories of infant psychosocial development5
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development


  • Epigenetic approach to development, using all five characteristics of the life-span perspective (multidirectional, multicontextual, multicultural, multi disciplinary, and plastic)
    • Systems theory is especially insightful in interpreting temperament.
theories of infant psychosocial development6
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development
  • Temperament
    • Inborn differences between one person and another in emotions, activity, and self-regulation
    • Temperament is epigenetic, originating in the genes but affected by child-rearing practices
  • New York Longitudinal Study (NYLS)
    • Started in the 1960s
    • Found 4 categories of temperament
theories of infant psychosocial development7
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development
  • Easy (40%)
  • Difficult (10%)
  • Slow to warm up (15%)
  • Hard to classify (35%)

Additional findings:

  • Temperament often changes in the early weeks but is increasingly stable by age 3
  • Extreme temperaments at age 3 tend to carry over to adolescence and young adulthood
  • Parenting practices are crucial, temperament can change or be changed
theories of infant psychosocial development8
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development
  • The Big Five (acronym OCEAN)
    • Five basic clusters of personality traits that remain quite stable throughout life
    • Found in many cultures and among people of all ages
  • Openness: imaginative, curious, welcoming new experiences
  • Conscientiousness: organized, deliberate, conforming
  • Extroversion: outgoing, assertive, active
  • Agreeableness: kind, helpful, easygoing
  • Neuroticism: anxious, moody, self-critical
theories of infant psychosocial development9
Theories of Infant Psychosocial Development
  • Longitudinal study of infant temperament (Fox et al., 2001): Grouped 4-month-olds into three distinct types based on responses to fearful stimulation
    • Positive (exuberant)
    • Negative
    • Inhibited (fearful)
  • Less than half altered their responses as they grew older
    • Fearful infants were most likely to change
    • Exuberant infants were least likely to change
    • Maturation and child rearing has effect on inborn temperament
the effects of parenting
The Effects of Parenting
  • Proximal parenting
    • Caregiving practices that involve being physically close to the baby, with frequent holding and touching
  • Distal parenting
    • Caregiving practices that involve remaining distant from the baby, providing toys, food, and face-to-face communication with minimal holding and touching
goodness of fit
Goodness of Fit
  • A similarity of temperament and values that produces a smooth interaction between an individual and his or her social context, including family, school, and community
  • With a good fit
    • parents of difficult babies build a close relationship
    • parents of exuberant, curious infants learn to protect them from harm
    • parents of slow-to-warm-up toddlers give them time to adjust
A coordinated, rapid, and smooth exchange of responses between a caregiver and an infant

Synchrony in the first few months

Becomes more frequent and more elaborate

Helps infants learn to read others’ emotions and to develop the skills of social interaction

Synchrony usually begins with parents imitating infants

is synchrony needed for normal development
Is Synchrony Needed for Normal Development?
  • Experiments using the still-face technique
    • An experimental practice in which an adult keeps his or her face unmoving and expressionless in face-to-face interaction with an infant
    • Babies are very upset by the still face and show signs of stress
  • Conclusions:
    • A parent’s responsiveness to an infant aids psychological and biological development
    • Infants’ brains need social interaction to develop to their fullest
  • Attachment is a lasting emotional bond that one person has with another.
    • Attachments begin to form in early infancy and influence a person’s close relationships throughout life
attachment types
Attachment Types
  • Secure attachment: An infant obtains both comfort and confidence from the presence of his or her caregiver.
  • Insecure-avoidant attachment: An infant avoids connection with the caregiver, as when the infant seems not to care about the caregiver’s presence, departure, or return.
  • Insecure-resistant/ambivalent attachment: An infant’s anxiety and uncertainty are evident, as when the infant becomes very upset at separation from the caregiver and both resists and seeks contact on reunion.
  • Disorganized attachment: A type of attachment that is marked by an infant’s inconsistent reactions to the caregiver’s departure and return.
measuring attachment
Measuring Attachment
  • Strange Situation
    • A laboratory procedure for measuring attachment by evoking infants’ reactions to the stress of various adults’ comings and goings in an unfamiliar playroom.
  • Key behaviors to observe:
    • Exploration of the toys. A secure toddler plays happily.
    • Reaction to the caregiver’s departure. A secure toddler misses the caregiver.
    • Reaction to the caregiver’s return. A secure toddler welcomes the caregiver’s reappearance.
social referencing
Social referencing

Seeking information about how to react to an unfamiliar or ambiguous object or event by observing someone else’s expressions and reactions. That other person becomes a social reference.

Mothers use a variety of expressions, vocalizations, and gestures to convey social information to their infants.

Social Referencing
fathers as social partners
Fathers usually spend less time with infants than mothers do and are less involved parents


Fathers’ own ideas of appropriate male behavior

Mothers often limit fathers’ interactions with their children

Quality of marital relationship is best predictor

Happier husbands tend to be more involved fathers

Fathers as Social Partners
comparing mothers and fathers
Comparing Mothers and Fathers
  • Selected research findings:
    • Teenagers are less likely to lash out at friends and authorities if they experienced a warm, responsive relationship with their fathers as infants (Trautmann-Villalba et al., 2006).
    • Infants may be equally securely attached to both parents, more attached to their mothers, or more attached to their fathers (Belsky et al., 2006).
    • Close father–infant relationships can teach infants (especially boys) appropriate expressions of emotion (Boyce et al., 2006).
    • Close relationships with their infants reduce fathers’ risk of depression (Borke et al., 2007; Bronte-Tinkew et al., 2007).
    • Mothers tend to engage in more caregiving and comforting, and fathers tend to engage in more high-intensity play (Kochanska et al., 2008).
    • When toddlers are about to explore, they often seek their father’s approval, expecting fun from their fathers and comfort from their mothers (Lamb, 2000).
infant day care
Infant Day Care
  • Family day care
    • Child care that includes several children of various ages and usually occurs in the home of a woman who is paid to provide it.
  • Center day care
    • Child care that occurs in a place especially designed for the purpose, where several paid adults care for many children.
    • Usually the children are grouped by age, the day-care center is licensed, and providers are trained and certified in child development.
the effects of infant day care
The Effects of Infant Day Care
  • The impact of nonmaternal care depends on many factors.
  • Psychosocial characteristics, including secure attachment, are influenced more by the mother’s warmth than by the number of hours spent in nonmaternal care.
  • Quality of care is crucial, no matter who provides that care.