Emotion Understanding in Maltreated Children: Recognition of Facial Expressions and Integration With Other Emotion Cues
Linda A. Carnras Ellen Sachs-Alter Sheila C. Ribordy DePaul University
The study of pathology for the purpose of illuminating normalcy has a long and respected history in the field of psychology ( A. Freud, 1965; S. Freud, 1940/ 1955; Shallice, 1988). Through examination of cognitive, behavioral, or affective deviations, processes responsible for normal functioning can be better understood. With respect to development, this principle is currently a key tenet of developmental psychopathology ( Cicchetti, 1993). Advocates of this approach have studied several populations of disordered or high-risk children (e.g., children with Down syndrome, children of depressed mothers, maltreated children) in an effort to generate and confirm hypotheses regarding normal developmental processes. Simultaneously, this research has garnered a greater understanding of these children's competencies and deficiencies, critical to providing them with optimal care and treatment.
With regard to advancing the understanding of emotional development, the study of maltreated children appears to hold particular promise. Childhood maltreatment often involves a severe disruption of the normal mother-child relationship. For example, attachment studies have found