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Unformatted text preview: SPC 103: Developmental Psychology
Department of Psychology
School of Health and Natural Sciences
Sunway University College
Year 1 Semester 3
Lecture 4: Socioemotional Development in Infancy
Emotional and Personality Development
• Emotions: feelings occurring when in a state or interaction with something that is
important to the person; stronger if well-being is involved.
• Emotions vary in intensity from subtle to dramatic.
• Darwin: human facial expressions are innate.
• Emotions linked to early development of:
– Nervous system.
– Limbic system.
– Brain stem. • Neurobiological systems can exert more control over limbic system as child’s
self-control develops. • Caregivers influence infant’s neurological development and regulation of
– Emotions are first form of communication.
– Infants react to others’ facial expressions, tone of voice, emotions.
– Two broad types of emotions develop:
• Primary: appear in first 6 months of life.
• Self-conscious: appear from about
age 1.5 years to about 2.5 years. • Most important ways of communicating, in the youngest infants, are crying and
smiling. • Stranger anxiety involving fear:
– First appears about 6 months of age.
– Intensifies about 9 months of age, escalating past the 1st birthday.
– • Intensity of anxiety depends on:
• Proximity of mother.
• Where stranger meeting occurs.
• Stranger’s behavior. Separation anxiety: distress shown when caregiver leaves; peaks at about 15
months of age. 1 • Social referencing: “reading” emotional cues from others before acting in a
situation; improves as infants age. • During 1st year of life, infant begins to develop ability to control intensity and
duration of emotional reactions:
– Thumb sucking and soothing by caregiver replaced in 2nd year by
language as emotional release. Temperaments
• Temperament: an individual’s behavioral style and characteristic way of
• Types of temperament:
1. Chess and Thomas (1977) found 3 basic types:
– Easy: Positive mood, regular routine, adapts easily to new
– Difficult: Negative mood, cries frequently, irregular routine, slow
to accept change (10%) – Slow-to-warm: Low activity level, somewhat negative, low
intensity mood. (15%) 2. Kagan’s behavioral inhibition classifies child as shy, subdued, timid, vs
sociable, extraverted & bold (Jerome Kagan, 2000)
Inhibition to the unfamiliar: react to the unfamiliar with initial avoidance &
- Extremely inhibited, extremely uninhibited, and intermediate group.
3. Temperament types of Rothbart and Bates (2006):
– Extraversion/ Positive affect: Kagan’s uninhibited fit here.
– Negative affect: Kagan’s inhibited fit here.
– Effortful control: self-regulation as children with:
• High control have successful coping strategies.
• Low control are disruptive, intensely emotional.
Influences of temperament:
Kagan: child inherits a physiology that biases them to be naturally fearful and
Temperament may be influenced by: 2 – Parents who react differently to a boy or girl based on culture. 3. Culture
Active Temperament (Western Culture vs Asian Culture)
Environment and “goodness of fit” : the match between the child’s temperament
and the environmental demands that with which the child must cope.
• Three characteristics central to personality development:
– Trust: Erikson believed a child learns to trust or mistrust in the 1st year of life
in a way that affects later developmental stages. – Development of self through environmental experiences and ability to see self
as others see it . – Independence; as child explores new situations and environments, takes risks,
and learns muscle control. (Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt). Attachment
• Attachment is a close emotional bond between two people.
• Theories of attachment:
– Freud: infants attached by oral satisfaction.
– Harlow: comfort preferred over food.
– Erikson: trust arises from physical comfort.
– Bowlby: newborn is biologically equipped to elicit attachment behavior
Individual Differences in Attachment
• Strange Situation tests strength of infant attachment:
– Securely attached: explores environment, displays little emotion when
– Insecure avoidant: avoids caregiver but shows distress/crying when
– Insecure resistant: clings to caregiver and protests loudly and actively
if caregiver leaves.
– Insecure disorganized: disorientation; extreme fearfulness may be
shown even with caregiver.
• • Ainsworth’s research criticized as lab experiments, not real-life & may be
culturally biased. Attachment between infant and caregiver:
– In 1st year of life, is foundation for later psychological development.
– Helps child to survive while incapable of self-care.
– Is not the only path to success because children are resilient and adaptive. 3 –
– Is affected by genetics and temperament (Kagan, 1987, 2000)
Varies among different cultures of the world.
Should be secure if child is to develop fully. Caregiving Styles and Attachment
• Securely Attached: sensitive to their signals and are consistently available to respond
to the infant’s needs.
• Avoidant : unavailable/ rejecting. Don’t respond to infant’s need and have little
physical contact. Interact in angry, irritable way. • Resistant: Inconsistent in caregiving. Not very affectionate with babies. • Disorganised: Neglect / physically abused them. Some cases, caregivers are
depressed. 4 ...
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