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ERIC Number: ED171396
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
When 'Not' to Show What You Feel: Children's Understanding of Relations Between Emotional Experience and Expressive Behavior.
Saarni, Carolyn
This study examined children's responses to several questions about their use of display rules for expressing emotions--i.e., about the circumstances in which they would (1) mask or hide their feelings, (2) dissimulate their feelings through substituting another affective expression, and (3) express their feelings. A total of 60 children, aged 6, 8, and 10 years, were shown comic strip scenarios of four interpersonal conflict situations and asked about the characters' feelings. They then answered questions along the lines noted above about their own experience concerning those feelings. The 6-year-olds differed significantly from 8- and 10-year-olds in having fewer instances of both masked and dissimulated display usage. The 8-year-olds did not differ significantly from the 10-year-olds. Sex of subject had no significant main effect or interaction. Qualitative analyses indicated that children in all age groups were readily able to cite reasons for masking or hiding feelings; one of the most common reasons cited by all age groups was to avoid embarrassment and derision. Older children showed somewhat greater subtlety than younger children in their suggestions for dissimulation. With increasing age, children cited significantly more circumstances in which it would be appropriate to express one's feelings. Response details are provided in appendices. (Author/SS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Rules (Social)
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (San Francisco, California, March 15-18, 1979)