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What are emotions?

Subjective reactions to something in the environment.
Accompanied by some form of physiological arousal.
Communicated to others by some expression or action.
Usually pleasant or unpleasant.


Why are emotions important?

Allow children to let people know how they feel.
Linked to children's social + school success.
Help us adapt to our environment (e.g. fear).
Important in: self-awareness, emotional regulation, social competence + ability to form positive peer relationships.


What emotions can be seen from 1 month old?

Joy, fear, anger surprise, sadness. Maybe disgust + contempt.


What are Schwartz's primary emotions?

Joy, sadness, interest, surprise, fear, anger, love.


Name the key stages of development in emotion understanding.

3-5yo - simple cause + effect - recognition, reminder, external cause.
5-7yo - mentalistic - belief, desire, hiding.
7-9yo - reflective - morality, regulation, mixed.


What is the external understanding of emotions phase (age 3-5)?

Recognising faces.
External causes.


Explain a study which shows cultural differences in mentalistic emotions (Joshi & MacLean).

Indian girls at age 4 had an age 6 mentality compared to English girls.


When does the emotion 'desire' start to be understood?

Age 5-7.


When does theory of mind develop?



What is theory of mind?

Children's understanding that people have mental states such as thoughts and desires that affect their behaviour.
Allows children to get beyond people's observable actions and respond to their unseen states.


What task can be used to measure theory of mind?

False belief tasks.


What type of questions are children more likely to answer successfully?

Belief/action questions rather than emotion questions.
At 8yos children can answer both successfully.


How well do children do in understanding self vs others' false-belief emotions?

Better at self.
Overall better at beliefs than emotions questions.


Name 3 types of reflective emotions.

Ambivalent emotions, regulation, moral emotions.


Explain the development of understanding ambivalent emotions with age.

4-5 - one emotion.
7-8 - sometimes both but not at the same time.
10-11 - interaction of emotions.


When does regulation start to occur?

After 7 years old.


Name 4 main types of regulation strategies.

Behavioural strategy - action to manage the emotion.
Social support - intervention of another character helps protagonist to overcome the negative emotion.
Attentional deployment - do or think of something else in order to regulate the emotion.
Cognitive reappraisal - able to regulate the emotion due to modifying the meaning of the situation.


What have Salas, Pons & Molina shown about regulation?

Older children use more valid strategies and use cognitive reappraisal more often.
80% at 11 compared to 35% at 7 knew how to regulate emotions when feeling sad.
Further statistics: Rocha (2015) - reflective emotions: 90% at 11 compared to 30% at 7 knew that failing to confess a misdemeanour would lead to sadness due to morality.


What are some weakness of TEC (Test of Emotional Comprehension)?

Only measures static emotions.
Individual differences in emotion processing.
Single item scale.
Maybe there's more than one answer - could be due to different experiences?


What are some strengths of TEC (Test of Emotional Comprehension)?

Has 9 components.
Used by many different cultures - has been normed.
Fairly simple stories.


What are some key ways parents can influence children's emotion understanding?

They model emotion behaviours.
They develop the emotional climate in the family.
Specific behaviours (e.g. coaching or dismissing).


How do mothers with social phobia impact their children emotionally (Murray, 2008)?

10mo infant - no difference.
14mo infant - increased social avoidance compared to controls - modelling mother's behaviour.


How can parents help children's learn about emotion through socialisation?

Reminiscing with them about shared past emotional experiences.
Children whose mothers discuss feelings more = recognise others' emotions more + have better emotional regulation.
Mothers' use of emotion language predicts ability to label emotions.


What is a negative of research into emotional understanding in children?

Little work on fathers.
Controlling for past emotion understanding.


Describe Aznar & Tenenbaum's study into emotional understanding.

Spanish mothers + fathers with 6 or 4yos.
Reminiscence or play condition.
Counterbalancing - first visit with mother or father then 2 weeks later - same task with other parent.
TEC before study + 6 months later.


What did paternal talk predict?



What did maternal talk predict?

Higher emotional understanding.


What are the 3 things that predict children's emotional understanding (Karstad & Wichstrom, 2015)?

Parents' mensualisation scores.
Child's social skills.
Child's verbal skills.
All 3 predict increases in emotional understanding.


What is a weakness of parent-children studies of emotional understanding?

It's mostly correlational.


What did Tenenbaum (2008) find about what helps children to learn emotions?

Ambivalent or hidden emotion condition.
Results: experimenter-explanation + self-explanation increased TEC scores.
Self-summary did not.