Having argued that the study of emotional development is important to understanding children’s overall development, we shall now attempt to define more precisely what we mean by the term emotion and how this term might differ from other terms, such as affect, mood, temperament, and personality. This undertaking is not easy even though some attention has already been given to this topic (Arnold, 1960; Izard & Buechler, 1979; Plutchik, 1980a). Even these reviews may leave the reader somewhat confused since one of the most difficult tasks in the study of emotion and emotional development is that of definition. If one were to ask, “What is emotion?”, one would find the answer both hard to come by and idiosyncratic. In Table 3, 28 different definitions of emotion are presented (from Plutchik, 1980a). Clearly, emotion is not easily defined, and there is no agreement about what it might be. For at least 80 years, psychologists have struggled to define emotion and to find a place for it in behavior theory (Strongman, 1978). This problem continues into the 1980s.
KeywordsPersonality Trait Emotional State Emotional Response Stimulus Event Emotional Expressian
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.