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Childhood social and personality development emerges through the interaction of social influences, biological maturation, and the child’s representations of the social world and the self. This interaction is illustrated in a discussion of the influence of significant relationships, the development of social understanding, the growth of personality, and the development of social and emotional competence in childhood.
The purpose of this module is to provide a brief review of attachment theory—a theory designed to explain the significance of the close, emotional bonds that children develop with their caregivers and the implications of those bonds for understanding personality development. The module discusses the origins of the theory, research on individual differences in attachment security in infancy and childhood, and the role of attachment in adult relationships.
Emotions play a crucial role in our lives because they have important functions. This module describes those functions, dividing the discussion into three areas: the intrapersonal, the interpersonal, and the social and cultural functions of emotions. The section on the intrapersonal functions of emotion describes the roles that emotions play within each of us individually; the section on the interpersonal functions of emotion describes the meanings of emotions to our relationships with others; and the section on the social and cultural functions of emotion describes the roles and meanings that emotions have to the maintenance and effective functioning of our societies and cultures at large. All in all we will see that emotions are a crucially important aspect of our psychological composition, having meaning and function to each of us individually, to our relationships with others in groups, and to our societies as a whole.
How do people’s cultural ideas and practices shape their emotions (and other types of feelings)? In this module, we will discuss findings from studies comparing North American (United States, Canada) and East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) contexts. These studies reveal both cultural similarities and differences in various aspects of emotional life. Throughout, we will highlight the scientific and practical importance of these findings and conclude with recommendations for future research.