ERIC Number: EJ897583
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Children's Scripts for Social Emotions: Causes and Consequences Are More Central than Are Facial Expressions
Widen, Sherri C.; Russell, James A.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, v28 n3 p565-581 Sep 2010
Understanding and recognition of emotions relies on emotion concepts, which are narrative structures (scripts) specifying facial expressions, causes, consequences, label, etc. organized in a temporal and causal order. Scripts and their development are revealed by examining which components better tap which concepts at which ages. This study investigated whether a facial expression or a brief story describing an emotion's cause and consequence was the stronger cue to basic-level and social emotions. Children (N = 120, 4-10 years) freely labelled the emotion implied by faces and, separately, stories for six basic-level emotions (happiness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, and contempt) and three social emotions (embarrassment, compassion, and shame). Cause-and-consequence stories were the stronger cue overall, especially for fear, disgust, and social emotions. Faces were the stronger cue only for surprise. Younger children assimilated social emotions into basic-level emotion categories (sadness and anger); older children differentiated them. Differentiation occurred earlier for stories than for faces.
Descriptors: Scripts, Stimuli, Nonverbal Communication, Fear, Emotional Response, Cues, Children, Age Differences, Developmental Stages, Developmental Psychology, Child Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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