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Emotional Development: Action, Communication, And Understanding†

Carolyn Saarni, Joseph j. Campos, Linda A. Camras, David C. Witherington
Published 2007 · Psychology
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The chapter begins by addressing the theoretical platform endorsed by the authors that consists of an integration of functionalist perspectives with dynamic systems and social contextualism. This integrated perspective entails a flexible approach to emotional behavior: Expressive behavior, action tendencies, and cultural influence on emotion meaning all have their place in understanding emotional development. The chapter goes on to examine early emotional development, highlighting the importance of emotion communication as evidenced in infants through their emotional signaling to caregivers, their social referencing to significant others, and their growing skills at affective sharing with others. The final half of the chapter examines the development of eight specific skills of emotional competence, emphasizing their social effectiveness and individual adaptiveness. We conclude with a discussion of future research directions, including what may be the relational limits of emotion, individual differences in emotional responsiveness to contextual cues, attention processes, and emotion-related goals, some of which may become interiorized with development. Keywords: adolescent development; childhood development; emotion; emotional competence; functionalism; infanct development; social context; social effectiveness

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