The Development of the Emotions

  • Kevin B. MacDonald
Part of the Perspectives in Developmental Psychology book series (PDPS)


In their review of the literature on socioemotional development, Campos, Barrett, Lamb, Goldsmith, and Stenberg (1983) point out a dramatic change in the Zeitgeist concerning the importance of emotion in understanding behavior. Whereas the study of emotion held considerable importance in the early part of this century, by 1970 there were very few references to emotion in standard reference works in the area of developmental psychology. Moreover, the only interest in emotion that occurred at all was in cases where emotions were used as dependent variables to measure some cognitive or perceptual process. For example, one way to determine the cognitive capabilities of infants is to observe the “smile of assimilation” shown in response to discrepant schemas (Kagan, 1971). In recent years, however, the study of emotion has generated a number of new theories, and there is a large mass of data on the functions of emotion in the social behavior of children as well as on developmental changes in the emotions.


Positive Affect Positive Emotion Emotional Expression Affective Response Basic Emotion 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin B. MacDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.California State University-Long BeachLong BeachUSA

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