A Multi-Method Investigation of Infant Emotion

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Intense emotional expressions - both
positive and negative - characterize preverbal communication, influencing
interaction with caregivers and later development. Multiple methods will be
used to assess whether emotional intensity is indexed by facial markers that
occur during both positive (smile) and negative (cry-face) facial expressions.
These hypothesized intensity markers are stronger lip corner actions, the
raising of the cheeks around the eyes, and mouth opening. One hundred and six
four-month-olds have engaged in a standardized videotaped protocol - the
face-to-face/still-face protocol (FFSFP) - that reliably elicits a wide range
of positive and negative facial expressions. The duration of smiles and
cry-faces that do and do not involve each of the three hypothesized intensity
markers will be reliably coded from close-up videotaped images of the infants'
faces using an anatomically-based coding stem (FACS/BabyFACS). The facial
intensity markers are expected to occur simultaneously during smiles and
during cry-faces, an index of internal validity. Infants prenatally exposed to
cocaine who are at risk for non-optimal emotion regulation (n=47) are
hypothesized to show smiles with a smaller number of intensity markers and
cry-faces with a greater number of markers. Smiles and cry-faces involving a
greater number of hypothesized intensity markers are expected, respectively,
during more positive and negative episodes of the FFSFP. Smiles and cry-faces
with higher numbers of intensity markers are hypothesized to be more likely to
co-occur with affectively concordant vocalizations and with more rapid heart
rate than expressions with fewer markers. Naive observers are hypothesized to
rate smiles and cry-faces involving a higher number of intensity markers as,
respectively, more emotionally positive and more negative than expressions
with fewer markers. In sum, empirically validated markers of the intensity of
early positive and negative emotional expression will be documented by
investigating whether expressions involving a greater number of overlapping
markers occur during affectively appropriate situations in conjunction with
other indices of affective intensity among more and less at-risk infants, and
by determining whether these expressions are perceived by native observers as
being especially emotionally intense.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date4/1/023/31/05

Funding

  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $75,500.00
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $7,233.00
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $97,741.00

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