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Joie de vivre is Essential for Children, Anywhere and Anytime Child Science of Emotion.

Significance of Emotion in the Growth and Development of Children
The purpose of this paper is to examine how much we know about the scientific significance of emotion in the growth and development of children. Furthermore, if we are going to instill joie de vivre in children, particularly in our multicultural society today, we need a new concept of science. This new science must take multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary and holistic approaches to children. This new science is what we call "Child Science."

Even in the middle Ages in Europe, it was noted that abandoned children did not grow or develop well when they were deprived of the tender love of parents or a guardian. Note, for instance that Ann in Ann of Green Gables grows up to be a intelligent and independent young woman because she is loved by those around her. Today, we encounter a number of cases of so-called "maternal or emotional deprivation syndrome" as well as child abuse in Japan. These children invariably show poor growth and development.

Elsie Widdowson's Report
First, let me start with a rather dated report from 1951 by Professor Elsie Widdowson, a scientist who researched children's nutrition. She studied orphans in two orphanages, A and B, in Germany just after WWII, where the devastation of cities had left many children orphaned and on the street. Professor Widdowson found that the weight gain of orphans in A was much higher than that of those in B, although the quality and quantity of their diet were same. Further, she noted that children in A were cared for by a young and kind caregiver, who gave them love and affection, while children in B were cared for by an old and harsh caregiver, who disciplined them severely and instilled fear. There were, however, 8 children in B, who gained more weight than others there, although their weight gain was still lower than that of children in A. Widdowson attributed the weight gain of these 8 children to the fact that the old and harsh caregiver liked them due to their appearance and personality. Later, the young and kind caregiver left A for some reason, and Professor Widdowson asked the old and harsh caregiver to move to A with the 8 children who showed better weight gain. Thus, all the children in A, who showed better weight gain, were living together. All the children in B who showed poor weight gain were left together, but they came under the care of young and kind caregiver who cared for them with affection as the earlier caregiver had cared for the children in A. Professor Widdowson then ordered a slight increase in diet volume for A, although all the children there were good weight gainers, but under the care of the old disciplinarian caregiver. However, she did not change the diet volume for B, where all the children were poor weight gainers, but under the care of affectionate new caregiver.

Here, you can see the results in the right half of the figure. The children in B gained weight rapidly, even though their diet did not increase in volume. On the other hand, despite the increased diet, only the eight children whom the old and harsh caregiver liked showed a significant increase in weight while the other children in A did not show a further increase in weight. This report indicates that the weight gain in children is influenced more by the personality of the caregiver than by the diet itself. If we can generalize from this report, we can say that the growth and development of children are very much influenced by the emotional attitude or the personality of the people who care for them.

Maternal Deprivation Syndrome
Next, I'd like to show you a typical case of maternal deprivation syndrome. You can see the curve of the body weight of this boy in the lower part and that of the height in the upper part. This was a boy, who could unfortunately not receive the tender care and love of his mother. If you look carefully, will see the rising and declining curves before the age of 4 and note step-like curves repeating periods for the slowdown and catch-up of height and also of weight. These slowdowns appeared when the boy was under the care of his mother, but the catch-ups always occurred in the hospital or outside the care of the mother. You can see a flat curve from around the age 4 to 7 when there is no increase in height for two years and even a decrease in weight after fairly good increases of both under the care of his affectionate grandmother. This flat curve in height and the decrease in weight appeared when he returned to the care of his mother from his grandmother's home. However, you will see considerable catch-up in height and weight following the standard curves when he entered a children's home and we can even see an increase in IQ from 50 to 93, 103 and 108 compared with when he was under his mother's care. In addition, I would like to say that a laboratory test confirmed low growth hormone secretion during the period he showed a flat curve in height.

Significance of "Emotional Environment"
What can we learn from these two studies? I can say that the "emotional environment," in which a child is living, has a significant effect on his or her growth and development. By "emotional," I also mean informational, since we can say that the mind or the brain develops with information. As I will mention later, information can be classified into two types: logical and sensitive information. The positive sensitive information represented by joie de vivre is considered to be essential for the growth and development of children.

Why is positive sensitive information essential for the growth and development of children? What is the mechanism by which this operates? In order to clarify these questions, we need a new type of science, Child Science, as I mentioned at the beginning. I think there are three basic areas involved Child Science: System-Information theory, Brain Science, and the Triune Theory of the Brain. System-information theory is important in Child Science for understanding not only the biological aspects of children, but also the socio-cultural aspects of their lives in scientific ways.

How can we apply system information theory to the study of children and the mechanism of growth and development? However, if we look at the behavioral development of the fetus, the neonate, and children, I believe this will immediately become clear. In my view, the fetus and newborns already have in the brain the basic neuronal systems and basic programs to operate the body system and to live and to behave without environmental effect, including parenting, child care and education. As the body grows, the basic neural systems and programs combine to make complex neuronal systems and programs. With these complex ones, children can cope with any situation later in daily life at home, in the nursery, and school. I would like to show you a few slides to explain this.
Six Cases
1) Here you can see a fetus of 11 weeks gestation in this ultrasound phonogram. The hands and legs are moving, and you can even see heart beating in the center of the chest. This means that the fetus can move the hands and the legs, and beat the heart with the basic neural systems in the brain that are switched on by the basic programs, through some stimuli, that is, unspecific stimuli, or information.
2) This is a picture of a newborn in the hands of a doctor. When the baby's foot touches a board, he moves his leg, left and right alternatively like walking. We can say that he has the program of walking. The movement itself is automatic and in reflex, called the "stepping reflex." I would like to mention that this program is in the spinal cord extending from the brain without the strong control of the brain. However, when he moves his legs, he is using the same basic neural system and basic program of the fetus in the brain and the spinal card as when he is more than one year old. I can say that the program of walking becomes under the control of the higher brain function. When a child enters nursery school, he will learn to skip and dance from the teacher and by imitating friends, but this takes place through the combined systems and the combined programs in the brain, under the control of the much higher brain function than before.
3) What is this fetus doing? The doctor, who handed me this ultrasound phonogram, said, "The fetus is smiling!" I said "No," but soon understood that it might well be smiling since the neonate can smile, when receiving a warm bath just after birth. We can say then that even the fetus has the basic system and basic programs of smiling and pleasure or joy in the brain. Therefore, when the fetus feels pleasure or joy, the program switches on the neuronal system to smile.
4) As you see here, the baby has grown and is now, say, a few months old. He is smiling or laughing by using the combined system and programs of smiling in the brain. Of course, these systems and their programs are composed of the basic ones that he or she used in the uterus for smiling. What happens this time and how? The baby switches on the programs by understanding the mother's tender and affectionate face, that is, under control of the higher brain function. In the same way, school children laugh at cartoons, and the high school children chuckle at funny stories. The older children get, the more the complex system and programs in the brain are controlled by a much higher brain function, I mean, by logical and intellectual thinking.
5) Next, here a fetus is sucking his thumb. This is a picture taken by the fetoscopy. Sucking is the essential function for living, since baby can not drink milk after birth without this program. However, when the baby is grown, he or she will use the sucking program as a means of communication. As you see here, the 5-month or so old baby stops sucking during the breast- feeding and stares into the mother's eyes. Then the mother starts to jiggle the baby to ask "why don't you take my milk more, dear". I believe that whenever the baby stops sucking during breastfeeding, the baby is expecting to make some communication with the mother to enjoy. As you see, babies can use the combined programs of sucking with higher brain function programs even for communication.
6) Here is the drama of childbirth, "a child is born." The baby cries for the first time in life. Why does the baby cry? Because the baby is surprised during the tumultuous delivery process and feels fear of separation from its mother. The reason of the baby's cry is almost same the following day, and even later. I am emphasizing this point because I am moved to know that the newborn has programs of mind at birth, that is, the programs of fear and anxiety. After the baby stops crying, he or she starts to look around by moving the head slowly. Although the sight is not well developed enough, the baby is searching something new: information, the faces of the father, the nurse or the doctor, even any instruments around. We could say that even the newborn has the program of "curiousness" in the mind. We can say now that a child is born as an information seeker. As R. L. Frantz reported in a very interesting experiment on newborns and infants, the more information an object has, the longer baby stares it. The face is the most attractive, since the face has the most information around the baby. Of course, there is the other possibility, that we have a special neuronal network system to grasp the face in our brain.

On the basis of what I have shown in these slides, I would like to say that children are born with the basic neuronal network systems of body movement and mental function that is, the mind with these programs. Therefore, the programs can be classified into two types: the programs of the body such as hand and leg movement and also heart beat and respiration, and the programs of the mind, fear and pleasure, as you see when babies and infants smile and cry.

During growth of the body and development of bodily function and mind, these basic units of the neuronal system and programs are combined with each other respectively in selective ways to make complex neuronal systems and their complex programs. These neuronal systems and their programs can initiate children's movements and behavior in daily life, which are gradually become under control of the higher brain functions, further from the frontal cortex. Of course, these programs are switched on by information in the daily life of children, and then children are able to cope with any matter that happens in life.

The Triune Theory of the Brain
Next, I'd like to consider why the emotional environment is important for children. I would like to approach this question using the Triune Theory of the Brain and also evolutional psychology. Here is our brain, you can see the surface of the brain, the cortex, where the programs of the higher brain function are located.

In the frontal area, all the main programs of human specific behavior and mind are located in the cortex. There are the primary motor area, where all the programs of body movement are located along the frontal side of the central sulks, and the primary sensory area, where the main programs of sense and feeling are located, along the central sulks in the back side. The programs of speaking are located in the Borca area of the left frontal cortex and the program of listing languages is in the Wernicke area of the left temporal cortex. In the occipital cortex, the primary sight is located, where the programs of sight are operating. The programs of emotion and of living are deep in the brain, that is, the limbic cortex for emotion and the interbrain brain and system for living, and the spinal cord the long extension of the brain in the vertebral column, for movement and sensation. However, all the programs are interrelated with each other in the brain at work.

If you consider evolutional aspects of the brain, you can gain a deeper insight into the significance of emotion. As you know, the brain was first developed in the vertebral animal from the non-vertebral one, the most primitive brain is similar to that of fish and reptiles, which mainly have the programs of living such as respiration, circulation and movement. The brain can be called the Life Brain.

When the evolution reached the mammal, the Life Brain was covered by the cortex with programs of instincts such as appetite and sexual drive, and with those of emotions such as fear and pleasure, forming the Instinct-Emotional Brain. The programs of the instinct and the emotion reinforce the programs of living in order to survive and to make relations with each other for living together and reproduction. The brain at this stage was similar to that of a kangaroo.

Then the Instinct-Emotional Brain is covered by the neocortex with programs of higher brain function, resulting in the Intelligent-Rational Brain to control the program of instinct and emotion. This brain is similar to that of a horse or dog. The human brain is the most developed Intelligent-Rational Brain, particularly the frontal cortex, which controls all the programs of the mind in the brain. Therefore we have 3 complexes in our brain, that is, the Life Brain, the Instinct-Emotional Brain and the Intelligence-Rational Brain. This picture explains the Triune Theory of the Brain by showing the three complexes in the brain.
You can understand the Triune Theory of the Brain to explain the three complexes of our brain by this picture. Of course, whenever the brain is functioning for some purpose, these three complexes are always interacting with each other, but there are always the key-roll networks and their programs working among the other network and programs.

As we expect, the limbic cortex of the Instinct-Emotional Brain, which is located in the center of the three complex, plays an important role of our brain function, since it is developed to reinforce the function of the Life Brain, the oldest one, and at the same time, it supports the development of the neocortex of the Intelligence-Retinal Brain, which retains the most essential functions of our brain. Therefore, we can say that the emotions play an important role in our daily activities, especially for growing children, particularly in a multicultural society.

Positive Emotions and Negative Emotions
We can consider emotions in two ways, that is, as positive emotions and negative emotions. As I mentioned before, positive emotions such as pleasures and joys can reinforce the vital functions as well as the brain functions, making and supporting human relationships, including mother-infant bonding, and also psychological development. Negative emotions such fear and surprise can also reinforce the vital and brain functions, but in a different way from that of the positive emotions of fighting and surviving. This may cause failure in human relations, and even cause developmental disturbance of mind, when the emotions are strong enough. Of course, negative emotions may have a beneficial effect on the development of the mind, when they are weak and short.

Joie de vivre, joy of life, particularly "joy of play" and "joy of learning" for children are representative manifestations of the positive emotions of children, which are the major function of the limbic cortex and probably the programs in the frontal cortex, of course, in relation with all the programs of the mind and of the body more or less.

If you accept significance of emotion, as I have explained, you will agree that it is important to provide Joie de vivre at every opportunity in the early education, particularly in a multicultural society, since children in such a society have to face various problems related to language, the way of daily life, even social norms. This is important in early education because later education relies on logical explanation and discipline when children understand meaning through language.

My thinking may well be too simple, but you would agree that we need to investigate ways of learning and playing in relation to my idea of Joie de vivre. For this, I would say that we need multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and holistic approaches to children. We call this "Child Science," that is, the "Human Science" of children.

Since a child is born as a biological existence, but grow up as a social existence, we have to always consider the two aspects together. Therefore, Child Science should be a science that combines or fuses the natural and the cultural. We, at the Japanese Society of Child Science, have three projects at present.
(1) A theoretical examination of the ethnical and philosophical aspects of childhood and children particularly following the establishment of children's rights.
(2) Studying child caring design of children's environments ranging from the educational system to school architecture as a way of caring for and understanding children more deeply.
(3) The scientific analysis of children's issues and proposing solutions on problems such as school refusal, juvenile crime, and, of course, Joie de vivre itself, too.

(Note: This paper is my presentation at the International Conference "Early Education for Children in the Multicultural Background" organized by the China Welfare Institute in Shanghai, on 23rd, October, 2005.)
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