Emotional Development In Psychology is very the important question of how emotions originate. Do a child’s emotions develop as he grows up, or does he learn them? Here again the old maturation or training question arises.
K . M . B. Bridges showed how emotional reactions develop from ample excitement in a newborn baby to a dozen or more distinct reactions in the 2-year-old, including fear, disgust, anger, jealousy, delight, and affection.
William E. Blatz and a colleague noted the ages at which new behavior appears during emotional states. U p to 4 months the baby cries, struggles, gives a start. Between 4 and 8 months he resists, holds out his arms and throws things. Later he stiffens and clings. Between 1 and 2 years of age he runs away, hides his face, says no, and slumps.
An interesting case supporting maturation is described by Florence Goodenough. A 10-year-old girl, deaf and blind from infancy, was found to express fear, anger, disgust, and delight like normal children. As this child could not have learned from seeing or hearing others, Good enough believes the case argues strongly for maturation.
To show how learning affects emotional reactions J ohn B. W a t so n gave a white rat to a year-old child having no fear of small animals. As the child reached for it, a loud noise was made behind his head. He drew back, startled. This was repeated several times. After conditioning, the child cried at seeing the rat alone. The acquired fear spread to similar objects, like a rabbit, dog, and fur coat. In accounting for fears and other emotional reactions, Watson thereafter stressed experience, especially in childhood.
A few years after Watson’s experiment, M a r y C over J o n es showed that fears can be eliminated by conditioning. While a child who feared rabbits was eating, she brought a caged rabbit into the room and kept it some distance away. During subsequent meals the rabbit was brought closer and closer until the youngster ventured to touch it, eventually to fondle it. The procedure was very gradual. A too hasty approach might have brought back all
the old fear, indeed might have transferred it to the food instead of removing it from the rabbit.
Dr. Jones found that most methods recommended to eliminate fears do not work. Fears, she learned, do not “ die out” with time, nor can they be argued away. Becoming familiar with a feared object by constant exposure to it may reduce fear, but even this seldom entirely removes the fear. Repressing fear because other children ridicule it only intensifies emotional reaction, she discovered.
A method called “ social imitation,” in which a child having a fear is placed with others not having the fear, sometimes is successful. Their reassurance helps him overcome his fright. Social imitation and reconditioning, mainly the latter, are the most effective ways of eliminating fear.How we express our emotions, as well as what arouses them, depends a good deal on our training and experience. OttoK lineb e r g presents interesting anthropological evidence of this. The Chinese are “ poker faced” largely because they are taught restraint. Chinese boys and girls learn not to laugh boisterously or show their anger. Yet in different environments with different
culture patterns, like Hawaii, Chinese persons express their emotions more like westerners.
Emotional Development In Psychology And Emotional Development In Early Childhood
Many emotional expressions differ the world over. In some societies the kiss as a sign of affection is unknown; instead, two persons may rub noses, touch the nose to the other’s cheek, or touch the other’s nose with the index finger. Weeping often is part of tribal ceremonies, yet once the ceremony ends, laughter and gaiety follow quite naturally. Certain peoples vent their anger in queer traditional ways; they break up their possessions
or set fire to their own houses. Laughter, however, seems the universal expression of high spirits. Kline berg concludes that emotional expression, like language, must be at least partially learned.