Essay on Emotional development during infancy


Garrison is of the view that the infant is poorly endowed emotionally. However, the baby exhibits much behaviour that seems to have an emotional quality as and when he thrashes his limbs. On the whole, early in this stage, emotions, if at all they exist, they exist in undifferentiated and diffused form.

They develop as a result of maturation and training. In the first year there is only one emotional response and that is that of general excitement. As the baby grows, the emotional responses become less diffused and can be distinguished. According to J.B. Watson the three emotions of fear, anger and love are identified even in very young infant. Anger is more developed and very soon the child learns to say “No”. Authorities, however, do not agree to specific emotions present at babyhood. .

In another study, Bridges observed 62 infants from two weeks to two years of age. A convenient summary of her results is given at Page 65. She found undifferentiated excitement at the initial stage.


However, she found that at about three weeks of age, emotional differentiations in the infant began. Distress and delight are the two emotional patterns which first got differentiated from excitement. Fear, anger and disgust are differentiated from distress before the age of six months.

Continuing in this way, Bridges found that at the age of 18 months, a rather extensive repertoire of differentiated emotional reactions could be noted in the infant. However, neither the ages at which a particular ’emotion’ emerged, nor the precise sequences she found can be given much credence.

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