Chapter 11 emotional development, temperament and attachment emotional development

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Chapter 11


Displaying Emotions

Sequencing of Distinct Emotions

At birth; interest, distress, disgust, contentment

2-7 months; anger, sadness, joy, surprise, fear (all basic emotions)

Middle of second year; embarrassment, shame, pride, guilt, envy

Self-recognition and self-evaluation

Parents influence self-evaluative emotions

Later Developments in Emotional Expressivity

More negative emotions in young adolescents, risk of depression

Increase in daily hassles with others

Become more responsive to infants’ positive emotions

Socialization of Emotions

Emotional display rules – societal circumstances for emotional expression

Mothers tend to model only positive emotions to young infants

Become more responsive to infants’ positive emotions

Role of cultural expectations

Regulating Emotions

Ability develops very slowly
Present in 6-month-olds
Toddlers rarely regulate fear

Acquiring Emotional Display Rules

Age 3 can disguise true feelings
But at 13, still difficult to suppress anger
Ability in older adolescents is linked with being more prosocial, ability to resist peer pressure

Recognizing and Interpreting Emotions

Social Referencing

7-10 months – use others emotional reactions to regulate own behavior
Second year, look to others reactions after appraising a new situation

Conversations about Emotions

18-24 months
Contributor to empathy

Later Milestones in Emotional Understanding

Labeling emotional expressions of others improves during childhood
4-5 infer emotion from body movements
Emotion may be due to past event
By 8, same situation may cause different emotions

Emotions and Early Social Development

Emotional displays are communicative

Interpreting others emotions provides knowledge

Emotional competence is crucial to social competence

Emotional expressivity

Emotional knowledge

Emotional regulation


Temperament – individual differences in emotional, motor, and attentional reactivity and self-regulation

Fearful distress

Irritable distress

Positive affect / sociability

Activity level

Attention span / persistence


Hereditary and Environmental Influences on Temperament

Hereditary Influences

Identical twins more similar than fraternal twins; Moderately heritable

Environmental Influences

Cultural Influences

Shy and reserved a disadvantage in the U.S., but valued in Asian cultures

Stability of Temperament

Activity level, irritability, sociability, fearfulness – moderately stable

Behavioral inhibition

Moderately stable at extremes

Considerable fluctuation for other individuals

Early Temperamental Profiles and Later Development

Easy (40%) – even tempered, positive, open to new experiences

Difficult (10%) – active, irritable, irregular in habits

Slow-to-warm-up (15%) – inactive, moody, respond to novelty mildly negatively

Temperamental Profiles and Adjustment

Difficult – problems adjusting to school activities, irritable, aggressive

Slow-to-warm – half may be ignored or neglected by peers due to hesitancy to try new activities

Child Rearing and Temperament

Temperament can change

Goodness of fit between temperamental style and patterns of child rearing


Attachment – strong affectional ties that we feel with special people in our lives

Attachments as Reciprocal Relationships

Infants and parents become attached to each other

Establishment of Interactional Synchrony

Synchronized routines – coordinated interactions between infant and caregiver

Important for emotional attachments

How Do Infants Become Attached?

The Growth of Primary Attachments

The Asocial Phase (0-6 weeks)

The Phase of Indiscriminate Attachments (6 weeks – 6/7 months)

The Specific Attachments Phase (7-9 months)

Secure base for exploration

The Phase of Multiple Attachments (9-18 months)

Theories of Attachment

Psychoanalytic Theory:

I Love You Because You Feed Me

Freud – pleasure of eating results in attraction to person providing pleasure

Learning Theory:

I Love You Because You Reward Me

Feeding elicits positive responses from infant increasing caregiver’s affection
Infants learn feeding time provides comfort, mother is important

Harlow’s study – contact comfort is more important to attachment than food

Cognitive-Developmental Theory:

To Love You, I Must Know You Will Always Be There

For attachment, must discriminate familiar people from strangers
Object permanence

Although each theory is incomplete, all are important

Contemporary Theories of Attachment: The Ethological Theory

Attachment contributes to survival

Preadapted characteristic – predisposition to form attachments

“Kewpie doll” appearance may promote attachment; not necessary

Crying – difficult to ignore, as are smiles

Attachment-Related Fears of Infancy

Stranger Anxiety

Begin at time of primary attachment

Peaks at 8-10 months, then declines

Separation Anxiety

Appears at 6-8 months

Peaks at 14-18 months

Why Do Infants Fear Strangers and Separations?

The Ethological Viewpoint

Biologically programmed to fear strangers and circumstances where familiar companions are not present

The Cognitive-Developmental Viewpoint

Violating schemes of familiar faces and knowing someone will return

Individual Differences in Attachment Quality

Assessing Attachment Security

Strange Situation

Naturalistic caregiver/infant interaction to look for secure base
Brief separation
Reunion episode

Secure Attachment (65%)

Explores situation

May be upset by separations

Warm greeting on return, seeks comfort

Outgoing with strangers when mother is present

Resistant Attachment (10%)

Little exploration, want to be close

Very distressed upon separation

Ambivalent on return, want to be close, but will resist physical contact

Wary of strangers even when mother is present

Avoidant Attachment (20%)

Little distress when separated

Ignore mother on return

Often sociable with strangers, but may ignore or avoid them

Disorganized/Disoriented Attachment (5%)

Most insecure

Confusion about whether to approach or avoid the mother when reunited

Cultural Variations in Attachment Classifications

Percentages in each category vary due to variations in child rearing

What is secure or insecure varies also

Fathers as Caregivers


Later half of first year,

Positive attitude toward parenting
Spends time with infant
Sensitive caregiver
More likely to provide playful stimulation
Can assume all roles of a parent

Fathers as Contributors to Emotional Security and Other Social Competencies

Infants with secure attachments to both parents, most socially responsive

Infants securely attached to one parent were better than those insecurely attached to both

Factors That Influence Attachment Security

Quality of Caregiving

Mothers of securely attached infants are sensitive, responsive caregivers

Quality of Caregiving, continued

Resistant infants have parents who are inconsistent in their caregiving

Avoidant infants have parents who are impatient and rejecting, or overstimulating

Disorganized/disoriented infants were often neglected or abused

Who is At Risk of Becoming an Insensitive Caregiver?

Clinically depressed individuals
Caregivers who were unloved, neglected, or abused as children
Caregivers with unplanned pregnancies

Ecological Constraints on Caregiving Sensitivity

Insensitive parenting more likely
Health, legal, financial problems
Unhappy marriages

What Can be Done to Assist Insensitive Caregivers?

Interventions work and promote secure attachments

Infant Characteristics

Temperament hypothesis – infants’ temperament influences style of attachment (Kagan)

Does Temperament Explain Attachment Security?

No – elements are related but not a good explanation
Secure attachment to one caregiver, insecure to another

The Combined Influences of Caregiving and Temperament

Quality of caregiving determines whether attachment will be secure or insecure

Temperament determines the type of insecurity displayed by infants

Attachment and Later Development

Long-Term Correlates of Secure and Insecure Attachments

Secure attachments predict intellectual curiosity and social competency later in childhood – visible at 15-16 years old

Indirectly associated with quality of spouse relationship at age 25

Why Might Attachment Quality Forecast Later Outcomes?

Attachments as Working Models of Self and Others

Cognitive representations

Others are dependable or not
I am lovable or not

Securely attached children remember more positive events

Parents’ Working Models and Attachment

Also impact infants’ attachment style

Even if measured prior to infants birth

Mothers with secure attachment representations like interacting with infants more

Is Attachment History Destiny?


Secure attachment with one person can offset an insecure attachment with the mother

Secure can become insecure as life events change

Working Moms, Day-Care, and Early Emotional Development

40% of children cared for full-time by parents

Quality of Alternative Care

Very uneven in the U.S.

Low risk of adverse outcomes if day care is excellent

Parenting and Parents’ Attitude about Work

Mothers happier and more sensitive if employment status matches attitude

Children who receive sensitive, responsive care at home are at little risk of poor emotional outcomes from day care

Excellent day care helps buffer children against emotional insecurity should parenting be less than optimal

Diversity in Family Life and Attachment

Adoptive Families

Most children are well adjusted; much superior to foster care system

Increased rates of learning difficulties and emotional problems may be due to prior neglect

Information about biological parents not harmful

Diversity in Family Life and Attachment

Donor Insemination Families

No harmful developmental outcomes

Fathers may be less likely to be involved in discipline

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