Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 August 2010
Certainly by 9 months of age, infants appreciate what is happening around them, and these appreciations influence affective expression. Both valence (whether they smile or frown, laugh or cry) and intensity (whether they smile or laugh, frown or cry) depend upon how they evaluate what is going on around them in relation to what they have in mind. We may disagree about the kind of thinking that contributes to these appraisals for the experience and expression of emotion. But no one believes that the 9-month-old's emotional expressions are mindless, least of all the infant's caregivers who care about and respond to expressions of emotion as communicative events. At the same time, 9-month-old infants are beginning to pay attention to words they hear and to think about the connections between those words and what they feel and see and do. We have asked how the cognition for attending to words, learning new words, and saying words is related to the cognition needed for the experience and expression of emotion, and how the responses of a caregiver to a child's emotional expressions provide information about the causes and circumstances of emotional experience.
We have already seen, in Chapter 7, that the frequency of emotional expression and certain aspects of the mental meanings we attributed to the children's emotional expressions did not change between the two language achievements FW and VS for the group of infants as a whole.