Our overall aim is that of understanding the development of emotional signaling during infancy. A biosocial view highlights that in human infancy, without language, emotional expressions are highly organized and prominent, providing a medium for messages in the infant-caregiver system. Some messages are biologically necessary for the infant's survival, while others guide exploration and learning. Because our research technology has advanced to the point that emotions can now be treated as independent variables, a major emphasis will be given to the investigation of the infant's use of others' emotional signals (i.e., social referencing). Four laboratory situations have been devised wherein the infant encounters uncertainty, is given the opportunity to actively seek out emotional information from mother or an experimenter and in which the social regulatory role of facial or vocalic emotional expressions can be determined. Effects on behavioral regulation, heart rate, and emotional """"""""resonance"""""""" will be studied in connection with a variety of discrete emotional signals. These include joy, interest, anger, fear, and sadness. Experiments are also designed to test discrete emotions theory and to assess the relative influence of facial expression signals and vocalic signals. A second area of investigation continues ourwork on infant signaling of emotions and the relationship of this signaling to individual differences in caregiving. A third area concerns the longitudinal study of social referencing from 6 through 24 months. This will explore the naturalistic context and individual differences with respect to social referencing during this developmental period, one which is crucial for self-organization, the development of empathy and the socialization of emotional responses. This project represents a major collaborative effort between investigative programs in psychiatry and experimental child psychology. For psychiatry, the research promises relevance for understanding deviant empathic processes (for example, in families with child abuse) and understanding the integration of conflicting emotional signals (for example, in pathological character formation and in """"""""double bind"""""""" communications in disturbed families). For psychology, the research promises relevance for those emerging theories which regard emotions as organizers of basic perceptual, cognitive, and performance functions of the human being.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Cognition, Emotion, and Personality Research Review Committee (CEP)
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University of Colorado Denver
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Warren, S L; Emde, R N; Sroufe, L A (2000) Internal representations: predicting anxiety from children's play narratives. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 39:100-7
Warren, S L; Schmitz, S; Emde, R N (1999) Behavioral genetic analyses of self-reported anxiety at 7 years of age. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 38:1403-8
Oppenheim, D; Emde, R N; Hasson, M et al. (1997) Preschoolers face moral dilemmas: a longitudinal study of acknowledging and resolving internal conflict. Int J Psychoanal 78 ( Pt 5):943-57
Oppenheim, D; Nir, A; Warren, S et al. (1997) Emotion regulation in mother-child narrative co-construction: associations with children's narratives and adaptation. Dev Psychol 33:284-94
Emde, R; Kubicek, L; Oppenheim, D (1997) Imaginative reality observed during early language development. Int J Psychoanal 78 ( Pt 1):115-33
Rossman, B R; Bingham, R D; Emde, R N (1997) Symptomatology and adaptive functioning for children exposed to normative stressors, dog attack, and parental violence. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36:1089-97
Oppenheim, D; Emde, R N; Warren, S (1997) Children's narrative representations of mothers: their development and associations with child and mother adaptation. Child Dev 68:127-38
Warren, S L; Oppenheim, D; Emde, R N (1996) Can emotions and themes in children's play predict behavior problems? J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 35:1331-7
Biringen, Z; Emde, R N; Campos, J J et al. (1995) Affective reorganization in the infant, the mother, and the dyad: the role of upright locomotion and its timing. Child Dev 66:499-514
Emde, R N (1994) Individuality, context, and the search for meaning. Child Dev 65:719-37

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