Emotions and temperament are first observed during infancy and have various manifestations beginning with facial expressions and sounds to the willingness to engage in an activity or avoid it. Thus, the development of emotions and temperament is a gradual process and depends on the level of development of children themselves. In terms of emotional expression, researchers point out that it is directly linked to the infant’s capability to understand the actions that cause an emotional response and the brain’s ability to respond to such cues (Hoemann et al., 2019). Thus, categories of feelings such as sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and happiness occur based on emotional responses, which are initially attraction or withdrawal before the infant can socially engage in an activity (Ruba et al., 2019). Based on the development of the infant, these emotions may be manifested, interpreted, and verbalized differently, yet based on the idea that the brain functions become more complex, the child can feel a more comprehensive array of feelings.
Temperament is also related to the infant’s ability to express the beginning of the development of a personality. Researchers mention three simplified types of temperament observed in infants. These include easy, slow-to-warm, and difficult temperaments (Maltby et al., 2018). The typology refers to the infant’s ability to adapt to new environments, overall emotional state, interests, and manifestation of interest or lack thereof in terms of what is happening around them. Temperament, similarly to the emotional manifestation of infants, changes over time and acquires new shapes and characteristics. However, the development of the two notions is critically essential in the expression of the infant and, subsequently, the personality of the adult that will grow up and express themselves partly based on the initial responses to the world.
Hoemann, K., Xu, F., & Barrett, L. F. (2019). Emotion words, emotion concepts, and emotional development in children: A constructionist hypothesis. Developmental Psychology, 55(9), 1830–1849. Web.
Maltby, L. E., Callahan, K. L., Friedlander, S., & Shetgiri, R. (2018). Infant temperament and behavioral problems: Analysis of high-risk infants in child welfare. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 13(5), 512–528. Web.
Ruba, A. L., Meltzoff, A. N., & Repacholi, B. M. (2019). How do you feel? preverbal infants match negative emotions to events. Developmental Psychology, 55(6), 1138–1149. Web.