Social and Emotional Development I
Immediately after birth, the behavior of human neonates is affected increasingly by the behavior of other people. There is even evidence that the behavior of fetuses is affected by the stimuli arising from others, particularly the mother (DeCasper & Spence, 1986). From birth onward, infants and those around them, primarily the parents, engage in increasingly complex social interactions in which the behavior of parents affects the behavior of infants and vice versa, and the behaviors of both are changed as a result. The characteristics of the behavior of one person that affect the behavior of another person are called social stimuli; and the behavior that both produces these stimuli and is affected by them is called social behavior. As with other stimuli, social stimuli can have different functions depending upon the history of an individual. For example, the social behavior of others can produce eliciting stimuli (either USs or CSs), motivational stimuli (i.e., establishing operations or EOs), discriminative stimuli (SDs), or reinforcing or punishing stimuli. As with the other forms of behavior we have discussed so far (i.e., memory, motor, perceptual, cognitive, and language), behavior we refer to as social shows a progressive complexity in terms of its interactions with the social environment. “Social environment” is the term used to describe all of the social stimuli that affect the behavior of an individual at a given time.
KeywordsSeparation Anxiety Attachment Theorist Emotional Development Social Stimulus Behavior Analyst
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