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Language Development

We have been exploring the enigma of language — its power in helping us understand one another, and the mischief caused by misinterpretations.
Amelia Watkins, used with permission

The Educational Surprise of My Life: Community College

My first year of college was substantially different than I had anticipated, in ways both good and bad.

When Children Begin to Talk

Language represents a huge developmental leap for a child. Once childre begins to talk, the task turns to teaching them to use words to appropriately express their feelings.

Language, Geological Time, and Evolution

Language is one of the most important revolutionary advances of human beings. We will explore language with its individual development and relationship to emotions and cognition.
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Community College

Choosing to go to a community college after high school instead of a four-year university was not an easy choice for me to make and caused me a lot of anxiety.

Understanding Bias, Prejudice, and Violence

If we want to understand bias and prejudice, it might help to understand infant development—feelings and how they work—and evolution.

Play: A Different Perspective

Much has been studied and written about play, and we would like to consider play from a somewhat different perspective, namely, that of affect theory.

Dealing With Feelings

"Minimize affect inhibition... Maximize positive affects… Minimize negative affects.” — Silvan Tomkins

Anger: A Misunderstood Feeling

If curiosity, or interest, is the most under-appreciated feeling, anger may be the most misunderstood.

A Conversation About Underage Drinking

It is silly to think that turning 21 makes one a responsible drinker. Knowledge, above all else, is the dividing factor, and education can start at any age.

The Curious Human

Interest is crucial to our learning, exploratory activities, and creativity. But what happens when this feeling of interest or curiosity is squashed…

Loveys, Stuffed Animals, and Pets

Ever wondered about the significance of a child's stuffed animal or blanket? And the qualities that make up this relationship? Ever had one yourself?

Encouraging Interest

How can one sustain and enhance the child’s interest? The first order of business is for us to appreciate the importance of the interest affect and the exploratory behaviors...

Physical Punishment and Violence

To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, if hitting a child is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. If we truly want to decrease violence in our society, not hitting our children is a good place.

Kids and Technology, When and How

In the last decade or so, the media has itself become obsessed with the condemnation of technology and social media.

A Step-Child's Guide to Step-Parenting

Each family has its own story with its own peculiar complexities, but most have a moment in which the new boyfriend or girlfriend becomes a parent...

The Power of Curiosity

Might one consider eliciting the child's interests, rather than imposing interests upon the child?

Curiosity (Interest)

All innate affects (“primary affects”—feelings) are important. These affects—reactions to stimuli—ultimately form our more complex emotional life.

Our Early Emotional Life

…we examined our earliest feelings and how they work. This month we take a brief look at some of the conceptual issues and questions surrounding our early emotional life.

Primary Affects

We have been exploring how our earliest, innate feelings work – Distress, Anger, Fear, Shame, and Dissmell. This month we look at Enjoyment, Shame, Disgust, and Dissmell.

Primary Affects

What science is really intrigued with is how feelings work. For ages, Tomkins and others grappled with the following question: How are there only a few discrete responses?

The Origins of Our Emotional Life: Our Earliest Feelings

Our earliest nine inborn feelings—“primary affects”—are key to understanding human development and emotional life. What are they? How do they work?

Exploring Feelings

We are born with specific innate feelings, which combine with each other and life experiences to form our complex emotional world.

Turning the Microscope on Feelings

Why do we tend to overlook the importance of feelings in understanding the behavior of human beings?

What Are Feelings?

We have suggested that in order to understand human beings, we must examine the origins of feelings (affects), language, and cognition. This month we start our discussion...

The Embryology of Human Development

Human motivation and behavior are powered by our affects initially, with language and cognition quickly becoming part of the complex process.

Why Origins Count

Origins are important. Origins count. If we appreciate the embryology of our feelings, language, and cognition--we have a much better chance of understanding what goes wrong...

What Is Anger? Part II

Recently, we have been investigating two of our most important innate affects, Interest (curiosity) and Anger. We explored Interest in the May-October 2015 Newsletters.

What Is Anger?

Currently, we are discussing two of our most important innate affects, interest (curiosity) and anger. In the last several newsletters, we have examined interest in some detail.

Early Education

This month we conclude our discussion of education with “Education – Part II.” The emphasis is how to enhance education by mobilizing the positive affects.

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