Lawrence Augustus Averill.

Psychology for normal schools online

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ings there is manifested varying degrees of satisfaction and
dissatisfaction, from the delighted smiles which light up the
infant's face when its roving eyes are caught by the glitter of
the bright toy or the colored picture to the scowls and cries
of disapproval when toy or picture book is peremptorily
taken away from it. As the child grows into its second year
there become apparent in its behavior these and other
emotional reactions accompanying its various activities.
The more selfish or individualistic emotions, like fear, an-
ger, joy, sorrow, jealousy and envy make their appearance
before the more altruistic and social responses: sympathy
and love.

Paver noctumus. One of the most interesting illustra-
tions of the earlier emotional responses of the child is to be
found in the so-called "night fear" — 'pavor noctumus —
often observable in very young children. The child startles
the household in the small hours of the night by emitting
a piercing scream, perhaps followed by a series of them.
To the anxious nurse who hurries to the bedside the child
presents a spectacle of frozen horror as its eyes stare fixedly
into the corner of the room. Even after it is awakened it
continues to tremble and perhaps moan and cry for several
minutes before it can be calmed and put back to sleep. It
is probable that the cause of this strange affection lies in
disagreeable dreams which the child is having, induced no
doubt by stories of wild animals or "bogy men" to which it
has listened during the day. Whatever be the explanation,
however, the nature of the emotion is unmistakable.

Jealousy. We referred in a former lesson to jealousy, or
envy, as a common emotion of childhood. In general it may
be said that this emotion is aroused when one's pleasures or
rights, either real or fancied, are usurped by others. In
the very young child symptoms of it are first seen in connec-



123 PSYCHOLOGY FOR NORMAL SCHOOLS

tion with the attitude of the parent toward another child
either of the same family or of another. If undue or unnec-
essary attention is paid to the other child, or especially if
any protestations of endearment are vouchsafed to it,
jealousy becomes at once apparent in the scowling face and
perhaps the angry cry of the child thus cheated of his
imagined rights. Another situation in which jealousy comes
to the fore in child life is found in the envy of one child mani-
fested toward a more fortunate one who possesses a new
pair of skates, or a new sled, or a better cart, or a newer pair
of shoes, or a bicycle, or a velocipede. Incidentally, we
adults are by no means free from this vice, although through
long years of denial and the cultivation of control and po-
liteness we are usually more successful in covering up our
envy of others than is the more naive and transparent child.
In it, desire goes logically and inevitably over into jealousy.
But not only are possessions the object of envy; skills and
abilities are likewise often the causes of jealousy on the part
of a child more meagerly endowed or less practiced. Con-
sider, for example, the envy in which are held the child who
can pitch the straightest and speediest ball, and the child
who can learn his piece the most quickly, and the child who
can climb the tree or flag pole the fastest, or swim the stream
most easily. It is fortunate that the pangs of jealousy in the
simple-hearted child are usually merged in the admiration
which he genuinely feels for even his superior in skill or in
possessions. Were it not so, unhappy indeed would be the
lot of most children, enviers as well as envied. Still, child-
hood's mask of repression is so thin and transparent that
the vital forces regulating behavior can never be entirely
concealed.

Joy and sorrow. Childhood is happily rather a time of
joy than a time of sorrow. The instincts, clamoring for
expression, usually find little check in young people, and
hence a feeling state of satisfaction or pleasurableness is
more predominant in them than is one of unpleasantness.
It is true that in the past history of the race this condition



THE EMOTIONAL SmE OF BEHAVIOR 129

of childhood has not always obtained; nor does it to-day
among all peoples. But in most modern civilized communi-
ties children are able to extract more happiness. than un-
happiness from life. Witness, for example, the exquisite
joy of baseball, or of tag, or of hunting, or migrating, or of
tunneling in the snow, or of sailing one's tiny boat on the
pond, or of camping in the forest. There is little repression
in all this; rather it is expression to the uttermost, and there
is even a transcendent joy in the tired muscles and aching
shoulders resulting. Even in fighting there is a sort of
exaltation which is akin to joy in one's strength and pride
in one's skill in defense or offense.

Still, there are times of despondency and unrest and un-
certainty and even despair in the happiest childliood. The
death of a pet dog, or cat, or rabbit, is likely to initiate a
period of exquisite pain in the saddened young owner. Or
again, the early days of school life, coming as they do after
six or seven years of happy existence in which one was in
large measure one's own master, not infrequently are days of
pining for the free and unhampered life of the out-of-doors
where the call of nature and of play is deliciously insistent.
It may be that you can recall some glad, free day in your
own early school life when you fled from the repression and
constraint of the schoolroom out into the woods or the
fields, but so planned your self-enacted holiday that the
usual four o'clock hour found you trudging circumspectly
home! Such is the nature of children! And then, too, con-
sider the disappointment of young people when the long-
waited picnic morning dawns over a gloomy earth and above
a raining sky; or when one's dearest chum is required to stay
at home to help his father on the day above all others when
a fishing trip to the adjacent stream had been planned. It
is not necessary to multiply incidents of the encroachment of
sorrow of a more or less poignant nature upon the otherwise
joyous life of childhood. Look back into your own youth
and you will doubtless find many a day which was made
dark and dreary within by some repression or limitation



130 PSYCHOLOGY FOR NORMAL SCHOOLS^

which interposed between what desire willed and what
authority or incipient judgment decreed.

TOPICS FOR SPECIAL STUDY AND REPORT

1. Look up and report upon as many theories of emotion as you can find
references to.

2. Observe an infant for half an hour, paying special attention to the
feeling side of his behavior. In what ways were his apparent emotions
related to instincts operating at the time?

3. Think back into your early childhood and try to recall the happiest
and the unhappiest days which you ever lived through. Introspect
and endeavor to determine why certain experiences were far more
tinged with happiness or with sorrow than were others.

THE LESSON APPLIED

1. What would be some situations in the schoolroom which might favor
the outcropping of the jealousy response? Through what indiscre-
tions might the teacher herself be the innocent cause of such response?
What faulty methods of teaching might bring it to pass?

2. Should a teacher strive always to make school work so interesting to
the children that they are perforce always happy? Is there any
pedagogic virtue in chronic dissatisfaction and unhappiness on the
part of the pupil? Where such chronic disaffection exists, is it neces-
sarily the fault of the teacher?

3. Does the socialized school, as you know it, tend to keep children in-
terested and happy in their work? Does it also relieve the teacher
somewhat?

SELECTED REFERENCES

1. Angell, J. R. Psychology, pp. 301-08; also chap. 14.

2. Kirkpatrick, E. A. Studies in Psychology, chap. 7.

3. Thorndike, E. L. Educational Psychology, vol. 1, The Original Nature
of Man, chap. 9.

4. Watson, J. B. Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist,
pp. 194-202.



LESSON 20

THE EMOTIONAL SIDE OF BEHAVIOR {continued)

2. Fear and Anger

The four great human emotions. Perhaps the greatest of
all our emotional responses are fear, anger, love, and sympa-
thy. The first two of these, fear and anger, are likely to be
selfish or individual in their reference; the last two tend
toward the altruistic.

Fear. If you endeavor to think back into your earliest
childhood you will undoubtedly recall a great number of
situations which invariably aroused within you the fear
response. Indeed, few children grow up to adulthood with-
out having been at some time or other afraid of something
or somebody. One of the commonest sources of fear in
children, as you may remember from your own childhood,
appears to be darkness. There is something awesome and
uncanny in a dark room where shadows play uncertainly
about in the gloom, and where every chair and every table
seems strangely endowed with corporeal existence. The
same holds true of the out-of-doors at midnight, as poor
Ichabod Crane discovered to his despair on that memorable
evening spent at the home of the fair Katrina van Tassel.
Under the magic spell of darkness and night the imagination
is likely to endow every stone and every tree, and even every
corner of one's room with life and movability. Even the
changing shadows seem almost to breathe at times, and the
innocent furniture undergoes the most fantastic transforma-
tions under the lugubrious touch of night. No doubt you
can still recall your childish dread to leave the cheery living-
room in the early evening when bedtime came, and to mount
the creaking stairs to the silent room above. This was
particularly true if you lived in the country where there was
no friendly electric light to be switched on at the bottom of



132 PSYCHOLOGY FOR NORIVIAL SCHOOLS

tlie stairs. Or it may be that you can recall the trepidation
with which you used to pass the cemetery at nightfall, as
though the spirits of the departed might accost you and
require placating at your hands. Parents are very often
guilty of increasing this natural, instinctive dread of the
dark which exists in all of us by locking their ill-behaved
children in dark closets or lonely rooms as punishment for
some misdeed committed. Besides, they do not hesitate to
threaten them on occasion that the goblins, or' the "bogy
man," or some other spirits of the darkness and night will
carry them off if they fail to conduct themselves discreetly.
Thus in one way or another the dark is made to hold added
terrors to the credulous mind of the child. Ghost stories
told during the day may linger in the unconscious memories
at nighttime and multiply this fear of darkness a hundred
fold.

Thunder storms, too, are very often sources of dread to
children who are led to imitate reflexly the nervousness of
their elders. Consequently even mild storms may subse-
quently and habitually arouse in them the most exquisite
fear and the most unhappy foreboding, which are never con-
quered and which may actually come to color the whole of
their mental lives. On the other hand, children growing up
among older people who show no agitation during thunder
storms may go through life without ever being really afraid
of this remarkable phenomenon of nature. It is not our
purpose here to extend the list of situations in the face of
which fear is likely to be aroused. Suffice it to repeat, as we
have already said, that nearly all children are more or less
fearful of something or somebody at some time or other] in
their early years. They may, and often do, outgrow one
fear, only to fall victim to another. In the case of timid
children, or those of a nervous diathesis, life may become at
times utterly miserable owing to the number and persistence
of their fears.

Phobias. Often a fear comes to be chronic, or morbid, in
which event it is known as a phobia. Usually the roots of



THE EMOTIONAL SIDE OF BEHAVIOR 133

these morbid fears are to be found far back in the early
years of one's hfe, and closely associated with unfortunate,
or unhappy, or tragic experiences at that time encountered.
For example, a morbid fear of fire (pyrophobia) persisting
into and through adult life may have been caused originally
by an experience with fire which can never afterward be
effaced from the nervous system. Being in a burning build-
ing, for instance, or being set on fire by lighted matches while
playing with them, or hearing the screams of animals per-
ishing in the flames, may become in the mind of the nerv-
ously constituted child a rankling wound, as it were, which
never heals and which remains always a source of much
mental suffering. Other phobias besides the fire phobia
include morbid fears of death, of dead bodies, of animals,
even cats and dogs, of crowds or of solitude, of high places or
enclosed places or open places, — all of which, together with
scores of other fears, are to be met with in certain individ-
uals. Dr. Hall has been able to tabulate several hundred
distinct fears found in human beings in more or less morbid
form.

Adult fears. Fear in adults, and to some extent in chil-
dren too, has both a negative and a positive aspect. In the
case of abnormal fears such as the phobias, or of temporary
normal fears, such as fear of snakes, mice, sudden noises, etc.,
fear may be said to be negative. The negative side of the
simpler sorts of fear is after all, however, of very slight con-
sequence to individuals. Ordinarily those common fears
to which we are all subject on occasion arise suddenly when
we encounter an impending and threatening stimulus, only
to disappear as suddenly with the removal or explanation
of the stimulus. The fear, for example, which nearly over-
powers you in the depths of the night, when you are awak-
ened from deep sleep by a mysterious noise in the house,
is quite dispelled when you discover in fear and trembling
that the source of the disturbance was merely a mouse in the
wall or a stair creaking in the contracting cold. These
negative, chance fears are peculiar to us all and are forgotten



134 PSYCHOLOGY FOR NORMAL SCHOOLS

the next minute. There are, however, a great many aspects
of our behavior in which the attendant and underlying fear
response, though mild and passive often, is yet permanent
and fixed throughout life, exerting always a salutary influ-
ence over us. Such fear we may call positive in nature.
Among fears of this sort may be mentioned the fear of dis-
grace which keeps us honest and honorable; the fear of the
law which keeps us obedient and law-abiding; the fear of
failure which keeps us always employed to the uttermost in
our vocations; and the fear of social disapproval or censure
which keeps our social consciousness always keen and alert.
In addition to these there are a considerable number of reli-
gious fears and sex fears which play important and positive
parts in the hves of all normal adult individuals.

Anger. If you have ever observed very closely the behav-
ior of two boys engaged in a controversy you have marked
■ the flaming face and the blazing eye and the flushed cheek
and the clenched fist and the quick breathing which were the
physical expressions of their anger state. It may have oc-
curred to you that here was an inexhaustible fountain of en-
ergy which was running to waste with every blow delivered
and with every breath drawn. In the infant the earliest
symptoms of this emotion of anger usually appear with de-
lay in the forthcoming of food or in the ministering to other
physical wants besides hunger. In the very young child the
outward manifestations of the anger state include the spas-
modic crying, the convulsive openingand closing of the hands,
the clutching of the clothing, the kicking of the feet, and the

""u M^'u ^ . *^^ ^"""^y ^"""^ '^^^ *° ''^^- 1° ^ater infancy and in
childhood the anger state is likely to'appear whenever an in-
stinctive tendency has been repressed or thwarted, such for
example as the removal of a toy or other desired object, or
the inhibiting of privileges ordinarily enjoyed. The failure
of any physical activity to find its desired or customary
outlet tends to arouse the fighting instinct, and with it its
natural correlate, the anger response. You have probably
witnessed the operation of it in the behavior of the boy com-



THE EMOTIONAL SIDE OF BEHAVIOR 135

pelled to remain at home and hoe potatoes the while his
comrades hie them away to the trout stream or the woods;
or in the girl whose motives or actions have been quite mis-
judged by her fellows; or in children generally who are
cheated, or laughed at, or made sport of, or wronged, or
teased, or misjudged in any way. In the older child, how-
ever, the expression ordinarily given to the anger state is
more direct and purposeful than is true of the younger. The
latter cries bitterly, strikes out blindly; the former restrains
his tears and strikes more advisedly. He deems it cowardly
to show signs of weeping; the manly thing is to strike and
strike true. In the case of the girls it is similarly necessary
to repress the tears, but instead of resorting so invariably
to fisticuffs they more usually seek relief and satisfaction
from their pent-up emotions by uttering bitter words, or by
"cutting" the offender, or by going out of their way to do
unkind things. Often, it is true, the bitter words and un-
kind acts are repented of immediately they have been said or
done, it may be in sackcloth and ashes, and it is ordinarily
true that children rarely let the sun go down on their wrath.
Such is childish anger.

/ In adults, the anger state seeks expression in a multitude
of ways, even as it is called forth by a multitude of situations.
If you will endeavor to introspect a bit you will doubtless
be able to make a somewhat extended list of all the situa-
tions which arouse anger within you. It may be the wit-
nessing of some one beating a horse; or it may be the re-
ceipt of injustice on your part; or it may be the discovery
of deceit and trickery and cheating in any department of
life; or it may be the slanderous word spoken of another, or
the thoughtless opinion expressed unadvisedly; or it may be
the witnessing of any of the multifarious and innumerable
petty meannesses which we encounter from day to day in
our association with neighbors, or clerks, or business men, or
officials, or legislators, et al. In general, anything which is
antagonistic to our sense of justice may become the stimulus
to wrath and indignation. Constructively, such anger



136 PSYCHOLOGY FOR NORIVIAL SCHOOLS

states as are called forth by noble aspirations are invaluable
to the ultimate salvation of the world for justice and truth
and fair play. Without such reservoirs of energy and such
stimuli to righteous conquest and the conquest of righteous-
ness society would lack one of its greatest driving forces, for it
is one of nature's most happy provisions that the anger state
may be sublimated above the gross physical combativeness
and become the incentive in all of us for the overcoming
of all injustice and the conquering of all social evil in a world
wherein there is still ample place for such righteous endeavor.

TOPICS FOR SPECIAL STUDY AND REPORT

1. Report upon any observations of fear response in children.

2. Recall from your own childhood all situations or objects which in-
spired fear within you. What is your present attitude toward these
same stimuli?

3. Do you know of any case of morbid fear, or phobia, in any of your
acquaintances? If so, can you account for its origin?

4. Make a list of all the stimuli which arouse in you the anger state.

5. Report upon any observations which you may chance to be able to
make of the operation of anger in children.

THE LESSON APPLIED

1. Is the motive of fear ordinarily a desirable one to which a teacher may
appeal? How has the attitude of educators changed in this respect in
recent years?

2. In how far is it possible for the influence of the schoolroom to be
exerted toward directing the fear and anger energies of children away
from the more crassly physical and toward the higher social or moral
or intellectual?

3. Dr. Hall says: "We fear God better for having feared thunder."
Can you justify this belief and its implications?

4. Are schoolyard fights ever justifiable? If so, under what conditions.'
Do they ever offer opportimity to the teacher for salutary instruction?

SELECTED REFERENCES

1. Angell, J. R. Psychology, chaps. 18 and 19.

2. Hall, G. S. "A Synthetic, Genetic Study of Fear"; in American
Journal of Psychology, vol. 25, pp. 149-200; 321-92.

3. Hall, G. S. " h.^tudy ot Anger" -tm American Journal of Psychology,
vol. 10, pp. 516-71.

4. Thorndike, E. L. Educational Psychology, vol. 1, The Original Nature
of Man, pp. 57-68; 76-80.



LESSON 21
THE EMOTIONAL SIDE OF BEHAVIOR {continued)
3. Love and Sympathy
What to look for in the observation period:

1. Whether the children seem to be sympathetic and considerate
in their attitude toward any deformed or defective child in the
classroom. What part do age and previous training play in
determining the behavior of children toward unfortunates?

2. Whether the children are keen at appreciatmg a humorous
situation which may chance to arise.

3. Evidences of the aesthetic appreciation of older as compared
with younger children.

Love. You have without doubt chanced to witness the
interesting spectacle of a watching face pressed closely
against the pane, its eyes turned anxiously and expectantly
up the street in the direction whence a mother should come.
It was the face of a child overcast with impatience at the
delay of the returning mother, and yet lighted up with love
for the absent and tardy one. If you watched this little
tragedy long enough you were probably rewarded in due time
by beholding the mother coming hurriedly down the street,
and by the instantaneous transformation which her coming
wrought in the eager face. From being impatient and per-
haps cross, it was miraculously cleared and the hght of a great
joy suffused it. Tear traces were dashed away, and two flying
ifeet and wide-spread arms sped down the walk to find solace
and comfort in the arms that never failed. Such is the
power of love. Other women might have passed and re-
passed the window all the afternoon, and yet none could
satisfy save the one.

In its earliest manifestations, it is true, the germinating
love response of the infant is largely overclouded by the
purely physical needs of the body. A mamma is to make



138 PSYCHOLOGY FOR NORMAL SCHOOLS

one comfortable,and that only. A mamma is the person who
feeds one, lulls one to sleep, keeps one's clothing comforta-
ble, gives one drink, etc. The baby's love for the mother is
not dissociated from the general satisfaction which he experi-
ences from her tender and dependable ministrations. He
IS lonely when the mother is absent, impatient at her delay
in hastening to relieve him, happy when she is present and
looking fondly and compassionately down upon him. Noth-
ing else matters to the very young child. But as he grows
older and learns to run about by himself the close relation-
ship between the mother's care and the mother's indispensa-
bleness no longer exists; one is able to a considerable degree
to <^are for one's self. But now dawns the love genesis in
the child s heart. From being a slave to his physical wants,
the mother now suddenly becomes an indispensable com-
panion and lover, a source not only of solicitude and sym-
pathy over one's childish troubles but a sharer of one's joys
and confidences as well. It is this stage in the develop-
ment of the love response which we had in mind above when
we referred to the childish face pressed against the pane

And yet how soon the stage comes during which even the
mother no longer satisfies; happiness and sympathy are
sought now in the bosom of the group or gang, and the
advances and protestations of the mother may be apparently
disliked and purposely avoided. This is especially likely
to be true when such manifestations of affection are offered
m the presence of one's boyish chums. Not that the love
for the mother is any less; rather the world of experience is
opening before the child so rapidly and dehciously that he is

r^ i^\ i * ''"^''"^ "^^^"^ ^"^^ ^"«t^^^' and in the shuffle
which he does endeavor to make the love for the mother as

iZ^fCt T T' r."'' '' ^^'^y to sink temporarily
nto the background. This stage does not, however, con

the^or r^- fl ^Tr "' ^"'"^ ^" '^' ^a^J^- pa-ion for



Online LibraryLawrence Augustus AverillPsychology for normal schools → online text (page 12 of 30)