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October 2021

The developmental functions of emotions: An analysis in terms of differential emotions theory

Author(s): Izard, C. E.

Journal/Book: Cognition Emotion. 1999; 13: 27 Church Rd, Hove BN3 2FA, East Sussex, England. Psychology Press. 523-549.

Abstract: A substantial body of theoretical literature testifies to the evolutionary functions of emotions. Relatively little has been written about their developmental functions. This article discusses the developmental functions of emotions from the perspective of differential emotions theory (DET; Izard, 1977, 1991). According to DET, although all the emotions retain their adaptive and motivational functions across the lifespan, different sets of emotions may become relatively more prominent in the different stages of life as they serve stage-related developmental processes. In the first section, we present a brief overview of relevant aspects of the theory. In the second section, we discuss how emotions play a central role in helping the individual achieve developmental milestones and tasks during four major periods of life: Infancy, toddler through preschool years, middle to late childhood, and adolescence. The underlying thesis of this article is that emotions play a central role in stimulating social cognitive attainments at each stage of development.

Note: Review Abe JAA, So Connecticut State Univ, Dept Psychol, New Haven,CT 06515 USA

Keyword(s): INFANTS FACIAL EXPRESSIONS; CONVENTIONAL TRANSGRESSIONS; INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES; COGNITIVE-DEVELOPMENT; PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR; YOUNG-CHILDREN; MOTHER; DISTRESS; SELF; ENVIRONMENTS


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