Psychological Development Across the Lifespan


What about emotions? How do emotions develop in the first year of life?

Emotions are a critical psychological tool for the infant’s survival. By expressing emotion, infants communicate essential information about their comfort and well-being as well as their immediate needs. Although infants are born with an emotional system in place, it is fairly crude at birth. Newborns only demonstrate two kinds of emotion, distress and calm. These are global emotional states with none of the nuance of the emotional repertoire of an adult. Within the first six months, however, the infant begins to show signs of discrete emotions. Through their facial expression, vocalization, and body movements, infants express joy, sadness, anger, surprise, and fear.


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