The Development of Behavioral States and the Expression of Emotions in Early Infancy: New Proposals for Investigation / Edition 2

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.48
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 94%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (10) from $3.48   
  • New (3) from $59.52   
  • Used (7) from $3.48   


Peter H. Wolff, a world-renowned authority on infant behavior, helped lay the foundation for the field in the 1960s with his innovative studies of behavioral studies, motor coordination, smiling, and crying in infancy. Some twenty years later, as infancy studies have become increasingly specialized and fragmented, he calls for new theoretical perspectives and methods of investigation. Applying ethological methods used in field studies of animal behavior, Wolff first observes how babies behave in the "natural" ecology of their homes to catalog their species-typical behavioral repertory and then manipulates their behavior through informal experiments designed to examine functional significance.

Wolff argues that a coherent psychobiological theory of early human development must begin with knowledge about the infant's behavioral repertory under free field conditions. Many current theories of human development begin instead with assumptions about the organization of behavior derived from studies of psychological function in the adult; moreover, they appeal to instincts, maturational programs, or genomes to explain the apparent lawfulness in the development of these behavioral categories. Such a priori explanations, Wolff contends, beg the whole question of development. As an alternative to theoretical metaphors that portray the infant as a closed system and suggests that development is controlled by prescient programs that anticipate the mature steady state, Wolff proposes a metaphor of the infant as an open, self-organizing system with partial, mutative mechanisms of development. Applying this metaphor, he addresses the essentially unsolved problem of how novel behavioral forms are induced during ontogenesis.

Wolff presents a study of twenty-two infants who were observed for thirty hours each week in their homes during the first months after birth. He builds a week-by-week description of changes in behavioral states of wakefulness and examines how reversible state changes influence developmental transformations in social-affective behavior and sensori-motor intelligence. The observations and informal experiments emphasize expressions of emotion and the infant's changing relations to persons and things. Pointing out that movements are our only clue to what infants "feel" or "think," Wolff gives special emphasis to the systematic variations in spontaneous and environmentally evoked patterns of motor coordination as a function of behavioral state transitions.

Of great importance to psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, and students of development in general, The Development of Behavioral States and the Expression of Emotions in Early Infancy offers a major empirical, methodological, and theoretical rethinking of the subject to which Wolff has made outstanding contributions.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226905204
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1987
  • Series: American Politics and Political Economy Ser.
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter H. Wolff is professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and senior associate in psychiatry at Children's Hospital, Boston.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. Method and Categories
2. Behavioral States
Alternative Perspectives
3. The Development of Emotional Expressions
Noncry Vocalizations
4. The Infant's Relations to Things and Persons
5. Conclusions
The Induction of New Behavioral Forms
The Expression and Development of Emotions
Relations to Persons and Things

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)