Differential Emotions Theory and Emotional Development

Mindful of Modularity
  • Brian P. Ackerman
  • Jo Ann A. Abe
  • Carroll E. Izard
Part of the Emotions, Personality, and Psychotherapy book series (EPPS)


Differential emotions theory (DET) packs the infant. Infants gain possession of a limited set of discrete emotions in the first months of life, and these emotions are organized as a modular system with a high degree of independent functioning. The number of emotions, their expressive signatures, and their links to one another undergo remarkable change over time, to be sure, as do system organization and articulation. The core processes in emotional development, however, consist of the construction and consolidation of affective—cognitive structures, which mediate intersystem coordination of the emotions, cognitive, and motor systems.


Facial Expression Emotion Regulation Emotion Expression Emotional Development Modular System 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian P. Ackerman
    • 1
  • Jo Ann A. Abe
    • 1
  • Carroll E. Izard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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