Life's First Feelings examines research techniques that open a window on infant emotions and allow scientists to explore the inner workings of a child's world. The program provides evidence that emotions serve important biological and social functions in the development of a child's personality.
The work of the following researchers is presented:
René Spitz was the first to document the devastating effect of early emotional deprivation.
Ed Tronick discusses patterns of turn-taking between an infant and his parent that help the infant control his emotions and allow the parent to determine the amount of stimulation needed by the infant.
Camille Izard describes his theory that innate emotions are linked to specific facial expressions allowing infants to communicate their needs; he also presents the coding system he developed to classify infant facial expressions.
Jerome Kagan discusses his studies on temperament which suggest that mood, activity level, and emotional intensity are biologically based and provide a strong inborn basis for personality development.
Joseph Campos, Robert Emde and Mary Klinnert describe their work on the relationship of biological factors and environmental influences in the development of human emotions.
Michael Lewis describes his work on identifying the advent of a child's sense of self and the development of social emotions.
Marian Radke-Yarrow talks about the development of sympathy and empathy and how a child chooses between aggressive and empathetic behavior.
Stanley Greenspan defines stages of emotional development and demonstrates the importance of early intervention.
Life's First Feelingsseeks to show that infants begin life with a set of survival-oriented emotions and acquire social emotions as they pass through childhood.