In this article, we review empirical evidence regarding the relationship between facial expression and emotion during infancy. We focus on differential emotions theory’s view of this relationship because of its theoretical and methodological prominence. We conclude that current evidence fails to support its proposal regarding a set of pre-specified facial expressions that invariably reflect a corresponding set of discrete emotions in infants. Instead, the relationship between facial expression and emotion appears to be more complex. Some facial expressions may have different (...) meanings in infants than in children and adults. In addition, nonemotion factors may sometimes lead to the production of “emotional” facial expressions. We consider alternative perspectives on the nature of emotion and emotional expression in infancy with particular focus on differentiation and dynamical systems approaches. (shrink)
In recent decades, considerable progress has been made in our understanding of emotional development. Yet no single current theory can fully encompass all of the empirical findings. Herein I propose that aspects of several theoretical approaches can be incorporated into a novel view that is informed by the dynamical systems perspective.
Emotion theories based on research with adults must be able to accommodate developmental data if they are to be deemed satisfactory accounts of human emotion. Inspired in part by theory and research on adult emotion, developmentalists have investigated emotion-related processes including affect elicitation, internal and overtly observable emotion responding, emotion regulation, and understanding emotion in others. Many developmental studies parallel investigations conducted with adults. In this article, we review current theories of emotional development as well as research related to the (...) several aspects of emotion designated above. Beyond providing an overview of the field, we hope to encourage greater cross-fertilization and research collaboration between developmental psychologists and scholars who focus on adult emotion. (shrink)
In the target article, we reviewed empirical evidence regarding the relationship between facial expressions and emotion in infancy. In our response to commentators, we make three main points. First, we concur with Hertenstein that the field has thus far relied too heavily on deductive reasoning, and suggest that future research strike a balance between inductive and deductive reasoning. Second, we maintain that infant recognition of discrete emotions remains an open question. Third, we state our position regarding the revised version of (...) DET. (shrink)
Coan’s article persuasively argues for an emergent variable model of emotion. This commentary highlights one version of such an approach that has been adopted by some developmental researchers, the dynamical systems perspective.