The Psychobiology of Affective Development

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

stimulation had been lowered considerably. If such negative reactions to everyday stimulation were to continue, the implications both for how stimuli from the environment were assimilated affectively and for future learning could be great. In addition, if stimuli are experienced dysphorically and responded to with anger, such patterns would also present great difficulties to caregivers who have to deal with the child's sensitivities to such stimulation. While such concerns are speculative, we do not feel they are far-fetched. They are supported by the impairments in the capacity for interest which the abused/neglected infants appear to be showing, particularly following mildly stressful events.

The systematic descriptions of facial expressions have thus provided us with a new and exciting window into the quality of the infant's emotional experiences during the first half year of life, a time which up to this point has remained relatively obscure. This initial study has suggested to us that such investigations hold great promise from both theoretical and clinical standpoints.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

At the time of this research Dr. Gaensbauer was supported by Research Career Development Award 1 K04-HD-214. The research was supported by grants from the Grant Foundation Endowment Fund of the Developmental Psychobiological Research Group of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and by BRSG RR-05357 awarded by the Division of Research Resources, National Institutes of Health, and by the MacArthur Foundation. Parts of Dr. Hiatt's work were supported by a Post Doctoral Fellowship from the Developmental Psychobiological Research Group, 1980-81.


REFERENCES

Brenner C. "On the nature and development of affects: a unified theory". Psychoanalytic Quarterly. 1974, 43, 532-556.

Bronson G. W. "The development of fear in man and other animals". Child Development, 1968, 39, 409-431.

Charlesworth W., & Kreutzer M. "Facial expressions in infants and children". In P. Ekman (Ed.), Darwin and facial expression. New York: Academic Press, 1973.

Ekman P. "Universals and cultural differences in facial expressions of emotion". In J. K. Cole (Ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1972.

Ekman P., & Friesen W. Unmasking the face. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1975.

Ekman P., & Oster H. "Facial expressions of emotion". In M. R. Rosenzweig & L. W. Porter (Eds.), Annual review of psychology (Vol. 30). California: Annual Reviews, Inc., 1979.

Emde R. N., Gaensbauer, T. J., & Harmon R. J. "Emotional expression in infancy: a biobehavioral study". Psychological Issues. Monograph No. 37. New York: International Universities Press., 1976.

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