Chapter 6 Social and Personality Development in Infancy
The Roots of Sociability: Emotions in Infancy
Emotions play an important role in the infant’s social and personality development.
Across every culture, infants show similar facial expressions relating to basic emotions.
Nonverbal encoding (the nonverbal expression of emotions) is consistent across the life span, leading researchers to believe we are all born with the capacity to display basic emotions.
The range of emotions expands with age, as does the ability to control emotions.
Emergence of Emotional Expressions
Stranger Anxiety and Separation Anxiety
STRANGER ANXIETY is the caution and wariness displayed by infants when encountering an unfamiliar person.
Appears in the second half of the first year.
Infants with more experience with strangers tend to show less anxiety.
Infants tend to show less anxiety with female strangers and other children than males.
The same cognitive advances that allow infants to respond so positively to those with whom they are familiar also means they are able to recognize people who are unfamiliar.
Stranger Anxiety and Separation Anxiety
SEPARATION ANXIETY is the distress displayed by infants when a customary care provider departs.
Usually begins about 8 or 9 months and peaks at 14 months.
Starts slightly later than stranger anxiety.
Largely attributable to the same cognitive skills as stranger anxiety.
Both stranger & separation anxiety represent important social progress. They reflect cognitive advances in the infant, and growing emotional and social bonds.
The infant’s first smiles are relatively indiscriminate (smile at anything).
By 6-9 weeks babies exhibit the SOCIAL SMILE, smiling in reference to other individuals.
By 18 months, social smiling is directed more toward moms and other caregivers.
Infants are able to discriminate facial and vocal expressions of emotion early in infancy.
By the end of the 2nd year, they use smiling to communicate and are sensitive to the emotional expressions of others.
The Development of Self: Do Infants Know Who They Are?
The roots of SELF-AWARENESS, knowledge of self, begin to grow around 12 months.
Self-awareness is assessed by the mirror and rouge task - most infants touch their nose to attempt to wipe off the rouge at 17-24 months.
Crying, when presented with complicated tasks, also implies consciousness that infants lack capability to carry out tasks.
Theory of Mind: Infants’ Perspectives of the Mental Lives of Others--and Themselves
Infants have a THEORY OF MIND, knowledge and beliefs about the mental world, at a fairly early age (explanations used by children to explain how others think).
Infants move from seeing others as objects to seeing others as compliant agents, beings similar to themselves who behave under their own power and can respond to the infant's requests.
Theory of Mind (continued)
Children's capacity to understand intentionality and causality grow during infancy—that people act in goal-directed ways (vs. inanimate objects).
By age two, infants demonstrate EMPATHY, an emotional response that corresponds to the feelings of another person. This is possible because they come to understand that others have emotions.
The most important form of social development that occurs during infancy is ATTACHMENT, the positive emotional bond that develops between a child and a particular individual.
Early researchers studied bonds between parents and children in the animal kingdom to understand attachment (i.e., Konrad Lorenz & imprinting).
Harry Harlow showed, with monkeys, that food alone is insufficient to bring about attachment. In spite of the fact that the wire monkey provided food, the infant monkeys preferred clinging to the warm, terry cloth monkey.
Early Research on Attachment - Bowlby
The earliest work on humans was carried out by John Bowlby, who suggested that attachment had a biological basis.
Bowlby viewed attachment as based on an infant's needs for safety and security (especially from the mother).
Attachment was viewed as critical for allowing the infant to explore the world.
Having a strong, firm attachment provides a safe base from which the child can gain independence.
Based on Bowlby's work, Mary Ainsworth developed the AINSWORTH STRANGE SITUATION, a sequence of 8 staged episodes that illustrate the strength of attachment between a 1-year-old child and (typically) his or her mother.
The 8 staged episodes of the AINSWORTH STRANGE SITUATION
Mother & baby enter an unfamiliar room.
Mother sits, letting baby explore.
Adult stranger enters room and converses with mom and then baby.
Mother exits the room, leaving baby with stranger.
Mom returns; greets and comforts baby and stranger leaves.
Mom departs leaving baby alone.
Mother returns and stranger leaves.
Infants’ reactions to the strange situation vary considerably, depending on the nature of attachment with mother…
2/3 are SECURELY ATTACHED CHILDREN, who use mother as a safe base, at ease as long as she is present, exploring when they can see her, upset when she leaves, and going to her when she returns.
20 % are labeled AVOIDANT CHILDREN who do not seek proximity to the mother; after she leaves they seem to avoid her when she returns as if they are angered by her behavior.
The strange situation technique, cont.
About 10 to 15 % are AMBIVALENT CHILDREN who display a combination of positive and negative reactions to their mothers; they show great distress when the mother leaves, but upon her return they may simultaneously seek close contact but also hit and kick her.
A more recent expansion of Ainsworth's work suggests a fourth category: DISORGANIZED-DISORIENTED CHILDREN (5 to10 %) who show inconsistent, often contradictory behavior, such as approaching the mother when she returns but not looking at her; they may be the least securely attached children of all.
The strange situation technique, cont.
Infant attachment may have significant consequences for relationships at later stages in life.
Not all children who are not securely attached as infants experience difficulties later in life; some research suggests that those who had avoidant and ambivalent attachment do quite well later in life.
Interactions Producing Attachment: The Roles of Mother & Father
Infants can attach to several caregivers, although mothers are most often the primary attachment figure.
Securely attached infants have caregivers who:
are sensitive to their infant's needs.
are aware of the infant's moods.
provide appropriate responses.
Attachment styles are stable from one generation to another.
(Interactions Producing Attachment: The Roles of Mother & Father, continued)
Changing societal norms and current research show that infants can also form strong attachments to their fathers.
There are differences in attachments to mothers and fathers, primarily because of the different roles they usually take – mother providing more nurture and father providing more play, especially active play.
Over time, the specific individual that the infant is attached with may change, or multiple attachments may occur, and most infants form multiple attachments by age 18 months.
Infant Interactions: Developing a Working Relationship
Variations in attachment highlight the fact that the development of relationships is an ongoing process.
Attachment is further increased by the process of RECIPROCAL SOCIALIZATION, by which infants’ behaviors invite further responses from parents and other caregivers.
Infants’ Sociability with Their Peers
Infants react positively to the presence of other infants.
They laugh, smile, and vocalize.
They show more interest in infants than inanimate objects.
By 1 year they show stronger preferences for familiar people than for strangers.
14-month-olds imitate each other.
Infants can learn new behaviors, skills, and abilities from exposure to other children.
Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development
Erik Erikson's THEORY OF PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT considers how individuals come to understand themselves and the meaning of others’ - and their own - behavior.
Erikson argues that personality is largely shaped by the infant’s experiences.
Erikson’s Stages in Infancy
During the TRUST-VERSUS-MISTRUST STAGE (birth to 18 months), infants develop a sense of trust or mistrust, largely depending on how well their needs are met by their caretakers.
From around 18 months to 3 years infants enter the AUTONOMY-VERSUS-SHAME-AND-DOUBT STAGE during which Erikson believed toddlers develop either independence and autonomy (if they are allowed the freedom to explore) or shame and doubt (if they are restricted and overprotected).
Differences Among Infants: Personality Development
PERSONALITY: the sum total of the enduring characteristics that differentiate one individual from another
The origins of personality begin in infancy.
Temperament: Stabilities in Infant Behavior
TEMPERAMENT: the patterns of arousal and emotionality that are consistent and enduring characteristics of an individual.
Temperament refers to how children behave.
Temperamental differences among infants appear from the time of birth.
Temperament shows stability from infancy through adolescence.
Buss and Plomin argue that temperament represents inherited traits which make up the core of personality.
There are several dimensions to temperament.
Activity level is the degree of overall movement.
Irritability reflects the fact that some infants are easy-going while others are easily disturbed.
Adaptability describes how easily the child adapts to changes in the environment.
Alexander, Thomas, and Chess (1984) conducted a large scale study of infants (NY Longitudinal Study) and came up with three profiles of temperament.
Three Temperament Types
EASY BABIES have a positive disposition; their body functions operate regularly and they are adaptable.
40 % of infants
DIFFICULT BABIES have negative moods and are slow to adapt to new situations; when confronted with a new situation, they tend to withdraw.
10 % of infants
SLOW-TO-WARM-UP BABIES are inactive, showing relatively calm reactions to their environment; their moods are generally negative, and they withdraw from new situations, adapting slowly.
15 % of infants.
The remaining 35 % cannot be consistently categorized.
The Consequences of Temperament: Does Temperament Matter?
Long-term adjustment depends on the GOODNESS OF FIT, the notion that development is dependent on the degree of match between children's temperament and the nature and demands of the environment in which they are being raised.
Temperament is a key determinant is the way parents react to the infant's behavior.
Temperament seems to be at least weakly related to infants’ attachment to their caregivers.
Culture also has a major influence on the consequences of a particular temperament.
Gender: Why Do Boys Wear Blue and Girls Wear Pink?
“Gender” – the sense of being male or female; “gender roles” are prescribed by society.
Ideas about gender produce dissimilar worlds for members of each sex, even during infancy.
Fathers interact more with sons than daughters; mothers more with daughters.
Infants wear different clothes and are given different toys based on gender.
Infants' behavior is interpreted differently depending on gender.
Family Life in the 21st Century
27 % of all families are headed by single parents.
65% of African American children live in single parent homes.
37% of Hispanic children.
Every minute, an adolescent gives birth.
One in 6 children live in poverty.
More than half of mothers of infants work outside the home.
Society is adapting to the realities of family life this century (i.e., growing array of child care arrangements).
The Effects of Day Care on Development
Two-thirds of all children between 4 months and 3 years of age spent time in non-parental child care.
More than 80% of infants are cared for by people other than their mothers at some point during their first year of life.
Where Are Children Cared For?
The Effects of Day Care on Development, cont.
A large study by the U.S. National Institute of Child Health & Development found that high-quality child care outside the home produces only MINOR differences from home care, and may even enhance certain aspects of development.
Positive aspects are related to the high quality of the center and the amount of time the infant spends in day care.
More research is needed on who uses day care and how it is used by different segments of society.
Day Care: Assessing Outcomes
Solve problems better
Pay greater attention to others
Use language more effectively
Play well with others
Parents gain skills (i.e., in programs like Head Start)
Benefits of higher income
Lower attachment if childcare setting is low quality or multiple settings
Slower cognitive development (if mothers work more than 30 hours a week during first 9 months of life)