Daniel Messinger, Jacquelyn Moffitt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Early smiles are a prototypical expression of joy and a window on the development of positive emotion. Smiles elicit positive emotion and engagement in others, a process that contributes to the development of joy and social competence in the young child. Infants express different intensities and qualities of positive emotion through alterations in the temporal and facial dynamics of their smiling and through the incorporation of other expressive actions such as laughter and jumping up and down. Through the first 2 years of life, infant smiles and laughter become increasingly social and affectively intense, and increasingly used in referential communications about objects; between 2 and 4 years, smiles reflect the social structure of peer interactions. Difficulties with smiling in early interactions reflect a variety of risk conditions, while emotionally positive and responsive interactions can index optimal developmental trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Curated Reference Collection in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology
PublisherElsevier Science Ltd.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128093245
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Affect
  • Arousal
  • Attachment
  • Development
  • Emotion
  • Face-to-face
  • Infant
  • Interaction
  • Joy
  • Mastery
  • Toddler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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