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Sroufe, L.A. (1982). The Organization of Emotional Development. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(4):575-599.

(1982). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(4):575-599

The Organization of Emotional Development

L. Alan Sroufe, Ph.D.

The domain of emotional development is extensive. Obviously, it includes the evolution of the various affect systems, from precursors in early infancy to the forms we recognize in children. But it also includes the changing capacity of the infant to modulate arousal and to mediate affective response. And, in addition, it includes the role of emotions in individual development. Development in general may be viewed as organized around a series of issues, each with an emotional core. Individual differences may be assessed in terms of the quality of adaptation with respect to these developmental issues, and the consequences of early adaptation for later emotional development may be examined.

Each of these aspects of the organization of emotional development will be sketched briefly in various parts of this paper. Recent research has helped to clarify the meaning of affective expressions, the relationship between early and later affective expression, and the determinants of emotional reactions. It has enabled a beginning integration of affect, cognition, and social behavior.

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