The Psychobiology of Affective Development

By Nathan A. Fox; Richard J. Davidson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Facial Communication of Emotion in Early Infancy
Theodore J. Gaensbauer
Susan Hiatt
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

The study of emotion has been given an enormous boost by the investigations of Ekman ( 1972, Ekman and Friesen, 1975), Izard ( 1971, 1977) and their colleagues indicating that between seven to nine discrete emotions have distinct facial features, which can be identified with high reliability across widely varying races and cultures. These findings have been cited as evidence that the emotions so identified are universal in the human species ( Ekman & Oster, 1979; Izard, 1977); although the validity of this hypothesis continues to be debated, the work of Ekman and Izard has also served to stimulate renewed interest in the ontogeny of emotions. If facial expressions of emotions are innate, should not the facial patterns of discrete affects described for adults also be seen in infants? If so, at what age do they first appear? Even more importantly, when in development is there evidence that specific facial expressions reflect meaningful emotional experience or communication?

These questions provide the framework for the research on emotional ontogeny to be described in this chapter. The finding in infants of facial patterns of discrete emotion similar to those described for adults would provide support for the hypothesis that emotional differentiation is primarily the result of innate, phylogenetically programmed neural systems, as postulated by differential emotions theory (Izard, 1977). The failure to find such emotion-specific patterns of facial expression in the infant, while not devastating for the theory, would at least raise questions as to whether emotional differentiation is not primarily a function of cognitive development and social learning, perhaps grafted on to relatively simple, bi-directional dimensions of physiological arousal ( Mandler, 1975; Schachter & Singer, 1962) or positive-negative hedonic tone ( Brenner, 1974; Kagan, 1978).


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Psychobiology of Affective Development


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 410

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?