The seeds of this book were first formed when we began to plan for an SRCD Study Group on the Development of Emotion and its Relation to Cerebral Asymmetry. The initial idea for the Study Group emerged from a sharing of ideas about some of the central questions in the developmental and neuropsychological approaches to emotion. Though each of us has been trained in different subdisciplines of psychology, our graduate training together at Harvard instilled in us an appreciation of the critical necessity for broad cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of behavior and experience. Our work together in organizing the Study Group and the Study Group itself catalyzed our enthusiasm about the prospects for an interdisciplinary approach to the study of affective development, and we have begun a program of collaborative research on the development of emotion and its relation to hemispheric organization over the first 2 years of life.
Much of the research described in this volume emerges out of a long tradition of study on the psychobiology of emotion. Beginning with Darwin ( 1872) at the end of the nineteenth century, it was noted that different emotions are accompanied by patterns of facial behavior. Darwin argued that these facial actions were functionally important and had an adaptive significance for the organism. Also writing on emotion at this time was William James ( 1884). Although he approached this phenomenon from a different perspective than Darwin, certain important common themes were present. The most central similarity between both positions was related to the issue of physiological specificity. Specifically, each of them held that different emotions are associated with different patterns of underlying physiological activity.