Emotions_and_emotional_communication_in.pdf - Emotions and Emotional Communication in Infants Edward Z Tronick ABSTRACT Important advances have recently

Emotions_and_emotional_communication_in.pdf - Emotions and...

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Emotions and Emotional Communication in Infants Edward Z. Tronick ABSTRACT: Important advances have recently been made in studying emotions in in/ants and the nature of emotional communication between in/ants and adults. In/ant emotions and emotional communications are far more organized than previously thought. In/ants display a variety of discrete affective expressions that are appro- priate to the nature of events and their context. They also appreciate the emotional meaning of theaffective displays of caretakers. The emotional expressions of the infant and the caretakerfunction to allow them to mutually regulate their interactions. Indeed, it appears that a major deter- minant of children's development is related to the oper- ation of this communication system. Positive development may be associated with the experience of coordinated in- teractions characterized by frequent reparations of inter- active errors and the transformation of negative affect into positive affect, whereas negative development appears to be associated with sustainedperiods of interactivefailure and negative affect. How is it that some children become sad, withdrawn, and lacking in self-esteem, whereas others become angry, un- focused, and brittlely self-assertive, whereas still others become happy, curious, affectionate, and self-confident? As clinicians, researchers, and policymakers, our goal must be to understand the processes that lead to these outcomes, not just to generate indexes of them, so that problematic and compromised developmental outcomes can be prevented and remediated. Although the nature of these processes is not yet known, an answer is taking shape on the basis of recent work on the nature ofinfant- caretaker emotional communication. The emerging answer is that the infant and adult are participants in an affective communication system. A central hypothesis is that the operation of this system has a major influence on how well the infant accomplishes his or her goals, the emotions the infant experiences, and the infant's developmental outcome. Ifthis hypothesis is correct, then the key issue is to understand how this sys- tem works. We need to explore the inextricable links among infant emotions and behavior, caretaker emotions and behavior, and the success, failure, and reparation of interactive errors that the infant experiences when striving to accomplish his or her goals. Two contrasting examples of infant-mother interaction drawn from the work of Brazelton (Brazelton, Koslowski, & Main, 1974) will serve as a base for the initial exploration of the functioning of this affective communication system. Imagine two infant-mother pairs playing the game of peek-a-boo. In the first, the infant abruptly turns away 112 University of Massachusetts, Amherst from his mother as the game reaches its "peek" of inten- sity and begins to suck on his thumb and stare into space with a dull facial expression. The mother stops playing and sits back watching her infant. After a few seconds the infant turns back to her with an
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  • Fall '19
  • Cohn, infant emotions

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