The Seven Basic Feelings of Infancy

  There are seven basic emotions which can be identified in very young infants. By observing the facial expressions of the infants, parents can determine what the child is feeling. Below is a list of the seven basic emotions and examples of events which stimulate these emotions.

  1. INTEREST: Alert, quiet watching of a crib mobile, of mom preparing food, of dad shaving.
  2. SADNESS: Mom or dad leaving the room and not returning immediately.
  3. ANGER: Removing a toy from the baby;
  4. JOY: Response to a parent blowing on baby’s neck or abdomen.
  5. DISGUST: When the baby is fed a disagreeable food.
  6. SURPRISE: Sudden appearance of a person playing “peek-a-boo”.
  7. FEAR: A sudden loud noise, an abrupt change in movement.

Researchers in infant development believe these basic emotions are biologically based and when these emotions are not present in an infant’s emotional repertoire, it is a signal that something may be awry. Therefore, it is important for parents to become accustomed to identifying, labeling, and encouraging their infant’s emotions. All the basic seven feelings are acceptable and normal!