Emotional Development How Children Develop (3rd ed.) Siegler, DeLoache & Eisenberg Chapter 10
Emotional Intelligence • A set of abilities that contribute to competent social functioning: • 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 • Empathize with others’ emotions
Emotional Intelligence • A better predictor than IQ of how well people will do in life, especially in their social lives • In research by Walter Mischel, preschoolers’ abilities to delay gratification were found to predict their social, emotional, and academic competence many years later.
Overview • I. The Development of Emotions in Childhood • II. Regulation of Emotion • III. Individual Differences in Emotion and its Regulation • IV. Children’s Emotional Development in the Family • V. Culture and Children’s Emotional Development • VI. Children’s Understanding of Emotion
I. The Development of Emotions in Childhood A. Theories on the Nature and Emergence of Emotion B. The Emergence of Emotion in the Early Years and Childhood
I. The Development of Emotions in Early Childhood • Emotion is characterized by a motivational force or action tendency and by changes in physiology, subjective feelings, and overt behavior. • Although most psychologists share this general view of emotion, they often do not agree on the relative importance of its key components. • There is considerable debate, for example, about the basic nature of emotions, including whether they are innate or partly learned, and about when and in what form different emotions emerge during infancy.
A. Theories on the Nature and Emergence of Emotion Discrete Emotions Theory The Functionalist Approach Research supports both perspectives to some degree, and no one theory has emerged as definitive.
Discrete Emotions Theory Argues that: • Emotions are innate and are discrete from one another from very early in life. • Each emotion is packaged with a specific and distinctive set of bodily and facial reactions.
The Functionalist Approach • Emphasizes the role of the environment in emotional development • Proposes that the basic function of emotions is to promote action toward achieving a goal • Maintains that emotions are not discrete from one another and vary somewhat based on the social environment
B. The Emergence of Emotion in the Early Years and Childhood • To make their interpretations of infants’ emotions objective, researchers have devised highly elaborate systems for coding and classifying the emotional meaning of infants’ facial expressions. • These systems identify emotions first by coding dozens of facial cues and then by analyzing the combination in which these cues are present. • Nonetheless, it is often hard to determine exactly which emotions infants are experiencing. • It is particularly difficult to differentiate among the various negative emotions that young infants express.
1. Positive Emotions • Smiling is the first clear sign of happiness that infants express. • Young infants smile from their earliest days, but the meaning of their smiles appears to change with age. • Social Smiles are directed toward people and first emerge as early as 6 to 7 weeks of age.
1. Positive Emotions • At about 7 months, infants start to smile primarily at familiar people, rather than at people in general. • After about 3 or 4 months of age, infants laugh as well as smile during a variety of activities. • During the second year of life, children start to clown around and are delighted when they can make other people laugh.
2. Negative Emotions • The first negative emotion that is discernible in infants is generalized distress. • By 2 months of age, facial expressions of anger or sadness can be differentiated from distress/pain in some contexts. • By the second year of life, differentiating between infants’ anger and other negative emotions is no longer difficult.
Distress • The interpretation of negative emotions is complicated by the fact that infants sometimes display negative emotions that seem incongruent with the situation they are experiencing. • It has been suggested that young infants are experiencing undifferentiated distress when they evidence negative emotion and that anger and distress/pain are not differentiated in most contexts.
Fear • The first clear signs of fear emerge at around 6 or 7 months, when unfamiliar people no longer provide comfort and pleasure similar to that provided by familiar people. • The fear of strangers intensifies and lasts until about age 2 but is quite variable across individuals and contexts. • Other fears are also evident at around 7 months and tend to decline after 12 months.
Separation Anxiety • Refers to feelings of distress that children, especially infants and toddlers, experience when they are separated, or expect to be separated, from individuals to whom they are attached • It is a salient and important type of fear and distress that tends to increase from 8 to 13 or 15 months and then begins to decline. • This pattern is observed across many cultures.
3. The Self-Conscious Emotions • Feelings such as guilt, shame, embarrassment, and pride that relate to our sense of self and our consciousness of others’ reactions to us. • Emerge during the second year of life • At about 15 to 24 months of age, some children start to show embarrassment when they are made the center of attention. • By 3 years of age, children’s pride is increasingly tied to their level of performance. • The situations likely to induce self-conscious emotions in children vary somewhat across cultures.
Guilt and Shame • Guilt is associated with empathy for others and involves feelings of remorse and regret and the desire to make amends. • Shame does not seem to be related to concern about others. • Shame and guilt can be distinguished fairly early, but whether children experience guilt or shame partly depends on parental practices.
4. Normal Emotional Development in Childhood • From early to middle childhood, acceptance by peers and achieving goals become increasingly important sources of happiness and pride. • School-age children’s fears are generally related to real-life important issues rather than imaginary creatures. • By the early school years, children’s perceptions of others’ motives and intentions are important in determining whether or not they will be angered. • Children overall become less intense and less emotionally negative with age in the preschool and early school years.
Emotions in Adolescence • Adolescence is a time of greater negative emotion than middle childhood. • Although the increase in the frequency and intensity of negative emotions and the decrease in positive emotions is small for most adolescents, a minority experience a major increase in the occurrence of negative emotions, often in their relations with their parents.
5. Depression • The rate of clinical depression, which is less than 3% prior to adolescence, is 15% or higher from age 15-18. • An addition 11% of U.S. youth experience less serious symptoms of depression. • Hispanic children report more symptoms of depressions than do Euro- or African Americans. • Children with depression frequently exhibit behavior problems.
Depression • Possible causes of depression include genetic factors, maladaptive belief symptoms, feelings of powerlessness, negative beliefs and self-perceptions, and the lack of social skills . • Family factors also contribute to depression • In many cases depression is likely due to a combination of personal vulnerability and external stressful factors. • Antidepressant drugs are most common treatment
Gender and Depression • Starting at age 13 to 15 in the United States, girls begin showing higher rates of clinical depression than do boys. • Stressors for girls include concerns about body image, early puberty, worries about peer acceptance and an increased tendency to ruminate on symptoms of their distress and on the meaning of their distress.
II. Regulation of Emotion A. The Development of Emotional Regulation B. The Relation of Emotional C. Regulation to Social Competence and Adjustment
A. The Development of Emotional Regulation • The process of initiating, inhibiting, or modulating internal feeling states, emotion-related physiological processes, and emotion-related cognitions or behaviors in the service of accomplishing one’s goals. • Its emergence in childhood is a long, slow process.
1. Shift from Caregiver Regulation to Self-Regulation • In the first months of life, parents help infants regulate their emotional arousal by controlling their exposure to stimulating events. • By 6 months, infants can reduce their distress by averting their gaze and sometimes by self-soothing, which is engaging in stylized or repetitive rubbing or stroking of their bodies or clothing. • Between ages 1 and 2, infants increasingly turn their attention to non-distressing objects or people to distract themselves from sources of distress.
1. Shift from Caregiver Regulation to Self-Regulation • Over the course of the early years, children become more likely to rely on themselves rather than their parents when they must delay gratification. • In addition, they become increasingly able to rely on language to manage their emotional arousal and to regulate their expression of negative emotions. • Children’s improving self-regulation is due at least in part to the increasing maturation of the neurological system. • They are also influenced by increases in adults’ expectations of children and to age-related improvement in the ability to inhibit motor behavior.
2. Use of Cognitive Strategies to Control Negative Emotions • Whereas younger children use behavior strategies like distracting themselves with play, older children also employ cognitive strategies such as mentally distracting themselves from negative events or trying to see things in a positive light. • As children age, they are better able to use cognitive strategies to adjust to emotionally difficult situations.
3. Selection of Appropriate Regulatory Strategies • The ability to select cognitive or behavioral strategies that are appropriate for the situation or stressor is aided by: • Children’s increasing capacity to distinguish between stressors that can be controlled and those that cannot be. • Children’s ability to choose the most effective strategies for managing their reactions to these stressors.
B. The Relation of Emotional Regulation to Social Competence and Adjustment • Social competence is the ability to achieve personal goals in social interactions while simultaneously maintaining positive relationships with others. • Emotional regulation has important consequences for social competence.
III. Individual Differences in Emotion and its Regulation A. Temperament
A. Temperament • The constitutionally based individual differences in emotional, motor, and attentional reactivity and self-regulation that demonstrate consistency across situations, as well as relative stability over time. • Differences in the various aspects of children’s emotional reactivity that emerge early in life are labeled as dimensions of temperament.
Infant Temperament • Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas conducted pioneering longitudinal research on infant temperament. • Three categories (based on parents’ reports): • Easy babies (40%): adjusted readily to new experiences, quickly established routines, and generally were cheerful in mood and easy to calm • Difficult babies (10%): were slow to adjust to new experiences, likely to react negatively and intensely to stimuli and events, and irregular in their bodily functions • Slow-to-warm-up babies (15%): were somewhat difficult at first but became easier over time • The remaining infants did not fit into these categories. • Some dimensions of temperament showed stability over time and predicted how children were doing years later.
Infant Temperament • In contrast to Thomas and Chess’s approach, many contemporary psychologists believe that it is important to: • Assess positive and negative emotion as separate components of temperament • Differentiate among types of negative emotionality • Assess different types of regulatory capacity • Recent research suggests that infant temperament is captured by six dimensions • Fearful distress, irritable distress, attention span and persistence, activity level, positive affect, and rhythmicity
1. Stability of Temperament Over Time • Children who as infants showed behavioral inhibition with novel stimuli also showed elevated levels of fear in novel situations at age 2 and elevated levels of social inhibition at age 4 ½. • It is important to note, however, that some aspects of temperament tend to be more stable than others.
2. Temperament and Social Adjustment • In a longitudinal study conducted in New Zealand, young children who were negative, impulsive, and unregulated had more problems as young adults with adjustment, including unemployment and conflict with roommates, than did their peers with other temperaments. • Behavioral inhibition in infancy, a temperamentally-based style of responding characterized by the tendency to be particularly fearful and restrained when dealing with novel or stressful situations; associated with problems such as anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal at older ages.
2. Temperament and Social Adjustment • Different problems with adjustment are associated with different temperaments. • However, children’s adjustment depends on how their temperament fits with the demands and expectations of the social environments they are in, a concept described as goodness of fit. • Moreover, the child’s temperament and the parents’ socialization efforts seem to affect each other over time.
Measuring Temperament • A number of different methods are used to assess temperament: • Parents or other adults periodically report on fearfulness, anger/frustration and positive affect • Laboratory observations have been used to assess behavioral inhibition, emotionality and regulatory capacities • Physiological measures (heartrate, EEG, cortisol level) have proven useful for measuring aspects of temperament
IV. Children’s Emotional Development in the Family A. Quality of the Child’s Relationships with Parents B. Parental Socialization of Emotional Responding
Personality • Refers to the pattern of behavioral and emotional propensities, beliefs and interests, and intellectual capacities that characterize an individual • Has its roots in temperament but is shaped by interactions with the social and physical world • Chief among these interactions are children’s relationships with their parents and their parents’ socialization practices.
A. Quality of Child’s Relationships with Parents • The quality of children’s relationships with their parents seems to influence their sense of security and how they feel about themselves and other people. • In turn, these feelings affect children’s emotionality, understanding of emotion, emotional self-regulation, and emotional responses to people and events in their world.
B. Parental Socialization of Children’s Emotional Responding • Socialization refers to the processes by which individuals, through experience with others, develop the skills and ways of thinking and feeling, as well as standards and values, that allow them to adapt to their group and live with other people. • Parents, teachers, and other adults are important socializers for children, although other children, the media, and social institutions can play a role in socialization.
1. Parents’ Expression of Emotion • The emotions to which children are exposed may affect their level of distress and arousal • The consistent and open expression of positive emotion in the home is associated with positive outcomes. • In families in which negative emotions are predominant, children tend to exhibit low levels of social competence and to express negative emotions themselves.