Emotional Facial Expressions in Infancy

Emotion Review 2 (2):120-129 (2010)
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Abstract

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

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