YOUNG PRESCHOOLERS' UNDERSTANDING OF EMOTIONS
The effects of age, response modality, and
specific emotion on knowledge of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear,
in 45 preschoolers aged 26-54 months (M =40.7 months) were examined. A
contextually valid measure involving puppets was devised to capture the
subjects' attention, and to embed the assessment within ongoing social
interaction. Results with this measure indicated that: (a) the older
subjects named and recognized emotional expressions better than the
younger subjects; (b) the ability to recognize emotional expressions
was greater than the ability to name them, especially for the fearful
expression; (c) the ability to recognize happy expressions was greater
than that for negative emotions (i.e., sadness, anger, and fear),
whereas naming of the happy expression exceeded that for the anger or
fear expressions; (d) the abilities to both recognize and name sad
expressions exceeded corresponding abilities for anger or fear
expressions; (e) the happy and sad situations were easiest to
interpret; and (f) the subjects made specific errors for particular
emotions. Theoretical and empirical implications of young preschoolers'
substantial understanding of emotions are discussed.
Recent empirical work has suggested that both
expressive and situational sources of information are important in
emotion judgments, even at a very early age (Bretherton, Fritz,
Zahn-Waxler, & Ridgeway, 1986; Bullock & Russell, 1986; Camras,
1986; Gnepp, 1983, 1989). The two sources of information go
hand-in-hand; for example, the young child probably needs to be
proficient in identifying emotional expressions before s/he can
reliably associate them with certain situations (i.e., to know event
scripts for specific emotions, e.g., "when I receive a gift, I feel
happy"; see Bullock & Russell, 1986). Further, either source of
information may be used by preschoolers when confronted with others'
emotions, depending on the circumstances in which the emotion judgment
is made (Camras, 1986). Because of the importance of both aspects of
emotion knowledge, this study extends much previous research by
assessing and comparing knowledge of both facial and situational
sources of information in investigating two- to four-year-olds'
understanding of emotions.
The first major goal of this research was to
assess young preschoolers' abilities to identify emotional expressions
by naming them (labeling) and pointing at them (recognition). Age
change within the two response modalities also were specified.
Ridgeway, Waters, and Kuczaj (1985) have confirmed that 60% to 90% of
24-month-old s recognize the four basic emotion terms (no t
expressions; happy, sad, mad, and scared), whereas 83% to 97% use them
in their own speech by 36 months. Similar age trends would be expected
in identifying actual expressions (cf. Michalson & Lewis, 1985;
Stifter & Fox, 1986). This study extends previous research by
examining the abilities of younger children, in greater numbers than
even Michalson & Lewis, to both verbally and nonverbally identify
Further, given the lag cited between
recognition and use of emotional terms (Ridgeway et al., 1985), it is
also probable that children in the early preschool period would be more
able to identify emotional expressions by pointing than by naming. Such
a discrepancy could be due to developing language ability, as well as
the relative ease of activating recognition versus recall of emotional
memory. This study extends previous research by specifying emotional
expressions for which this lag exists.
The second major goal was to examine age
change in interpretation of emotional situations. An age-related
increase in comprehension of emotional event scripts has previously
been found in an older preschool sample (Borke, 1971), and with a
sample which included some two-year-olds (Michalson & Lewis, 1985).
The inclusion of labeling and recognition measures in this study,
however, made it possible to explore the relation among identification
of emotional expressions and situations; only one, or both, may change
with age; age change in knowledge of emotional expressions may underlie
age change in knowledge of emotional situations (cf. Bullock &
Russell, 1986; Smiley & Huttenlocher, 1989).
The third major goal was to examine the
effect of specific emotions (i.e., happy, sad, angry, and afraid) on
naming and pointing at emotional expressions, and on interpretation of
emotional situations. Theoretically, the personal and social
information signalled by each emotion is quite different (Izard, 1971).
Discrete emotions theory would also predict that children would come to
understand emotions in the order that these emotions become adaptive in
the young child's life. Thus, it was predicted that understanding of
emotions would vary across emotions. Some emotional expressions and
situations would be easier than others for young preschoolers to
identify by either pointing or naming.
Happy expressions and situations are
predicted to be the easiest to identify accurately (Borke, 1971, 1973;
Michalson & Lewis, 1985). It is also likely that sad expressions
and situations will be accurately identified, but that distinguishing
among negative emotions, especially correctly identifying anger and
fear, will be difficult for young preschoolers (Borke, 1971, 1973;
Bullock & Russell, 1984; Michalson & Lewis, 1985; Stein &
Jewett, 1986). Although others have explored emotion effects, this
study allowed for generalizations across knowledge of expressions and
situations. Moreover, this study's subjects, on the average, were
younger than those in the previously cited studies.
The fourth major goal of this study was to go
beyond specifying emotion-specific effects on accuracy, to identify
emotion-specific errors in naming and pointing at emotional
expressions, and in interpretation of emotional situations.
Differentiation of happy versus nonhappy expressions and situations may
be acquired very early (with few errors). Differentiating between anger
and fear may, however, be difficult for young preschoolers (Borke,
1971, 1973; Bullock & Russell, 1984; Michalson & Lewis, 1985;
Stein & Jewett, 1986). Anger also may be confused with sadness
(Felleman, Barden, Carlson, Rosenberg, & Masters, 1983; Stein &
Such errors also may change with age, with
such age change differing for emotional expressions and situations. For
example, in one previous study, preschoolers often pointed at the sad
and angry faces, as well as the fearful face, when asked to find the
face that was "afraid"; this tendency decreased over time (Bullock
& Russell, 1986). Errors for identifying certain emotionally
negative situations may, however, persist until later preschool years.
Further, a major unique contribution of our
research was its attempt to ameliorate competence/performance errors of
previous research. One way to eliminate the competence/performance
problem is to contextualize the measurement of understanding of
emotions. In this study, contextualized assessment of young
preschoolers' interpretation of emotional situations was achieved
through embedding the measurement of the dependent variables within
ongoing play interaction with a familiar examiner, using
attention-capturing, nonstatic emotional stimuli (i.e., puppets and the
puppeteer's face and voice), and minimizing task demands, particularly
for verbalization (Lewis, 1989). Further, memory for the categories of
emotional situations were not assessed; instead, the child's ability to
interpret ongoing emotional situations, similar to those experienced
with peers, parents, and self, were measured.
Our study, thus, adds to the data reported by
Borke (1971,1973) and Michalson and Lewis (1985), which it most closely
parallels. Further, in comparison with Michalson and Lewis, more
synonyms of the emotional terms for naming the expressions were
accepted as correct. Moreover, photographic representations of
emotional expressions were not used, in favor of simpler, less
distracting, but still emotionally correct, schematic drawings of
emotional expressions. Regarding the interpretation of emotional
situations, pictorial representations of vignettes were not used
because their use may overwhelm two-year-olds and many three-year-olds.
Instead, a previously-validated play method was used (Denham, 1986).
Thus, many methodological changes were made to eliminate
competence/performance confounds of earlier research, and to extend
To recapitulate, the major goals of this
study were to specify: (a) the effects of age, specific emotion, and
response modality on early identification of emotional expressions; (b)
the effects of age and specific emotion on interpretation of emotional
situations; and (c) errors which occur for each emotion, and their
change with age.
Subjects were 45 two-, three-, and
four-year-olds from two classrooms of a day care center in a large town
in predominantly rural surroundings and two classrooms of a laboratory
preschool in a suburban metropolitan area (overall mean age = 40.7
months; 20 girls, mean age 38.8 months, range 26-50 months; and 25
boys, mean age 42.3 months, range 30-54 months). Children were
heterogeneous as to SES, judged by income and housing.
There were two types of measures for each
subject: (a) expression identification via verbal naming and nonverbal
pointing; and (b) interpretation of emotional situations. Children left
their classrooms one at a time with one of two adult female
experimenters, whom they knew well and with whom they were comfortable.
Subjects were selected in random order for testing. The measures of
emotion knowledge were embedded within a structured play session
described at length in Denham and Couchoud (1989).
Children examined four faces made of felt, on which the expressions of
happy, sad, angry, and afraid were drawn (see Borke, 1971, and Izard,
1971, for the prototypical facial expressions which were drawn on the
faces). These emotions were chosen from a discrete emotions theory
perspective, and to parallel other studies' usage. The specific
drawings have been validated as representing the facial expressions of
happiness, sadness, anger, and fear.
Subjects were asked to name these four facial
expressions (i.e., to answer the question, "what is this face
feeling?"). Next, they. were required to point at each expression in
answer to the question "where is the (underbar) face?." Thus, the first
task included both verbal identification (naming) and recognition
To ensure random order of questioning for
each subject, the four faces were shuffled and laid on the table before
each set of questions (i.e., naming and pointing). During the pointing
task, all four faces were available on each trial; thus, subjects were
not able to answer correctly due to the process of elimination.
Subjects received one point for correctly naming or pointing at the
expressions, for a possible total score of four on both the naming and
the recognition measures. All spontaneous verbalizations, whether
during naming or pointing tasks, were also included for error analyses.
Cronbach's alphas were .73 for both the naming and recognition
Interpretation of emotion situations.
Family puppets made of cloth, with neutral facial expressions, were
used to enact eight vignettes, similar to those of Borke (1971).
Puppets were used to lessen cognitive demands of more representational
media and to engage the children (Ridley, Vaughn, & Wittman, 1982).
Protagonist puppets were the same gender as the subject.
In each vignette, the puppet felt the way
most people would feel. For some emotions, such as happy, item creation
is a simple task. Other emotional situations pose a problem in that it
is possible for people to feel either of two ways. Because the
potential developmental decline of interemotion confusion is, in fact,
being studied here, its inadvertent inclusion in the measure itself
would be a confound. Thus, the script of each vignette was chosen
specifically to involve one major emotion (Lewis, 1989).
Each vignette, presented in a different
random order for each subject, was accompanied by standardized vocal
and visual affective cues emitted by the puppet/experimenter. Such
systematically controlled cues from the experimenter were included in
order to approximate the components of children's naturally-occurring
emotion scripts. Thus, the puppet/experimenter showed standard peak
facial expressions (see Izard, 1971), and expressed standard
vocalizations, for each specific emotion. Props, such as miniature
blocks, were also used. The experimenter correctly renamed the faces
used in the previous task before proceeding.
Vignettes and standard facial and vocal
expressions emitted by the examiner, as well as "body language" of the
puppet, are described in Table 1. After seeing each vignette the
children were asked "How does [the puppet] feel?" They then affixed the
proper face, from the four identified in the previous task, on the
puppet. Verbal responses were not required; such a requirement would
substantially increase the difficulty of the measure. Scoring proceeded
as in the nonverbal emotion identification task; thus, because two
situations for each emotion were included, the maximum score per
emotion was two, with a maximum total of eight. Cronbach's alpha
Naming and Pointing at Emotional Expressions
Mean scores for the emotional expression
naming measure and the emotional expression recognition measure for
younger children, older children, and the total sample, are shown in
Table 2. Mixed model Age (2) x Emotion (4) ANOVAs were performed for
each measure. The mean age of the Younger group was 35.6 months, and
the mean age of the Older group was 46.4 months. For simplicity, these
groups will be called the three-year-olds and the four-year-olds.
Gender was not used as a factor in these and
subsequent analyses. Preliminary Age (2) x Sex (2) ANOVAs for each
emotion, for pointing, naming, and situation identification tasks,
showed that its effects were routinely nonsignificant. The only
exceptions were that girls showed greater ability than boys to name
fear, p < .05, and a marginal tendency to point at angry expressions
more readily, p < .10.
For both naming and pointing at emotional
expressions, effects of age were significant, with four-year-olds'
scores higher [Fs (1,43) = 9.71 and 5.54, ps < .01 and .05,
respectively]. For both modalities, the effect of emotion was
significant [Fs (3,129) = 34.37 and 6.21, ps < .0001 and .001].
Emotion x Age interactions were not significant for either task.
Planned comparisons for within-subjects
designs indicated that identification of happy expressions was clearly
the easiest naming or pointing task for the children. These were more
readily named than either angry or fearful expressions, Fs (1,43) =
8.61 and 79.75, respectively, ps < .001, and more readily pointed at
than all three negative emotions, Fs = 5.92, 14.20, and 19.87, ps <
.05, .001, and .001, respectively. Sad and angry expressions were more
readily named than fear expressions Fs = 60.21, and 35.20,
respectively, ps < .001. There were no significant differences among
negative expressions on the pointing measure.
Another mixed-model ANOVA was also performed
with Age, Response Modality, and Emotion factors. The main effect of
response modality was significant, F (1,43) = 13.17, p < .001. The
mean naming score was thus lower (0.60) than that for pointing (0.69).
The Emotion x Modality also was significant, F (3,129) = 13.21, p <
.001. Simple main effects analysis showed that the locus of the
interaction effect of modality lies in the difference between naming
and point scores for the fear expression, F (1,43) = 25.04, p <
.001. The mean score for naming fearful expression was .17, whereas the
mean for pointing at these expressions was .56. The Age x Modality
interaction was nonsignificant.
Interpretation of Emotional Situations
Table 2 also shows mean scores for each age
group and the total sample on the emotional situation measure. An Age
(2) x Emotion (4) repeated-measures ANCOVA design, with the sums of
naming and pointing scores for each of the four emotions as covariates,
was used to analyze these data. The main effect of age was
nonsignificant, F (1,42) = 1.95, with the significant covariate
partialled out, F (1,42) = 50.37, p < .0001. Thus, ability to
interpret emotional situations did not increase with age, independent
of the increasing ability to identify emotional expressions.
However, the emotion effect was significant,
F (3,128) = 8.30, p < .01, even after partialling nonsignificant
effects of the covariate, F (1,128) = 0.83. Planned comparisons for
within-subjects designs indicated that understanding of happy emotions
was again a strength in this age range. Happy situations were more
easily identified than either angry or fearful situations, Fs (1,43) =
23.16 and 42.93, respectively, ps < .001. Happy situations were
marginally more readily understood than were sad situations, F = 4.04,
p < .06. Understanding of sadness was a strength among negative
emotions; sad situations were identified more readily than either angry
or fearful situations, Fs = 6.49 and 20.96, ps < .05 and .001,
respectively. Angry situations were more readily identified than
fearful ones, F = 4.49, p < .05. The Age x Emotion interaction was
again nonsignificant, F (1,128) = 0.83.
Total and age-group frequencies of each error
made for each emotion within each task are listed in Tables 3,4 and 5.
To investigate distributions of errors made by children during each of
the tasks across the four emotions, chi-square analyses were performed
where possible (i.e., no expected frequencies less than one, less than
20% of expected frequencies less than five). Where nonparametric
analyses were not appropriate, only descriptive discussions follow.
Chi-square analyses were appropriate for the
distribution of naming errors for fearful expressions; the distribution
was nonrandom, X2 (5) = 13.43, p < .05. Errors were most
often "I don't know." The frequency tables also show that the happy
expression was unlikely to be called a negative emotion, and anger and
fear were often called other negative emotions. No chi-square analyses
for pointing errors were appropriate, because of low expected
frequencies. The frequency tables show that children pointed at sad and
angry expressions when asked to identify the fearful expression, and
the sad and fearful expressions when asked to identify the angry
Age trends for errors in naming and pointing
at expressions suggested that "I don't know" errors decreased with age,
except for naming the afraid face. Confusing the angry or afraid faces
with the sad face also decreased with age. Pointing at the angry face
instead of the correct happy face decreased with age.
Regarding interpretation of emotional
situations, appropriate chi-square analyses showed that error
distributions were nonrandom for sad, angry, and fearful situations, X2s
(3) = 11.00, 13.05, and 12.46, ps < .02, .01, and .01, respectively.
Sad situations were likely to be called happy (perhaps an attempt at
reparation), but unlikely to be called fear. Angry situations were
often called sad, but unlikely to be called fear. Errors for the
fearful situations were most often sad, but also unlikely to be angry.
Descriptively, errors for happy situations were especially likely to be
"I don't know," but unlikely to be angry or afraid. Age trends on this
task also suggested that "don't know" responses decreased with age.
Confusing happy and sad situations was an error made almost totally by
three-year-olds. Older children were less apt than younger ones to call
angry situations happy or sad; similarly, calling fearful situations
happy or angry decreased with age.
The predictions made regarding the basic aims
of this study were generally upheld. These contextually valid,
multi-method results emphasize the emerging but sizable understanding
of emotion in young preschoolers. Such results have both theoretical
and empirical implications.
Our findings fit well with several theories
of emotional development: Izard's (1971,1977) discrete emotions theory
formed the basis for the hypotheses regarding identification of
separate emotions' expressions and situations. This theory suggests
that there exist separate neural mechanisms for each emotion, with
emotional expressions emerging when adaptive in the infant's life.
Izard's overall theory appears to be supported; the extent of abilities
to understand both expressions and situations generally varied in the
same order as the emergence of corresponding discrete emotional
expressions (i.e., from greatest to least ability: happy, sad, angry,
afraid; see Izard, 1971).
Lewis and Michalson's (1983) theory
emphasizes that socialization factors are vital in the development of
emotional expression and understanding. First, the infant comes to
perceive the gestures and changes in face, voice, and posture in the
emotional displays of others (Field & Walden, 1982). This
perceptual ability may form the structural basis for lexical
differentiation of expression terms later (Michalson & Lewis,
1985). Adult models emit and imitate happy expressions most often, and
fear less often (Malatesta & Haviland, 1982), possibly explaining
the ease with which children at the age levels investigated here are so
proficient at identifying and interpreting happiness, and have such
relative difficulty with fear. Those emotions which adults talk about
more frequently may also become part of the child's growing emotion
lexicon more readily.
Next, the child begins to assign meaning to
these facial stimuli; for example, happy faces are seen when someone
gets something, and sad faces when someone is hurt or doesn't get
his/her way. Thus, the collection of emotional scripts available to the
young child gradually enlarges (Bullock & Russell, 1986), until s/
he is as sophisticated as subjects tested here, with emotional script
development depending on differentiation of facial expressions.
Age predictions. Ability
to both name and point at emotional expressions increased with age, as
expected. Results suggest, however, that the ability to identify
emotional situations is dependent on expression identification. It
seems that as children become able to recognize and name emotional
facial expressions, they become capable of identifying the emotions
expressed in situations (cf. Bullock & Russell, 1986; Smiley &
Huttenlocher, 1989). The general linear increase of situation
interpretation across age levels, which others report (Borke, 1971,
1973; Michalson & Lewis, 1985), and which is found in this study
when expression identification is not covaried out [F (1,129) = 9.75, p
< .01], may be artifactual, dependent on children's age-related
increase in comprehension of emotional expressions.
Response modality predictions.
Ability to name expressions was generally higher in this study than
previously found, perhaps because of the contextually valid nature of
the measure. In contextualizing measures to measure young children's
abilities accurately, investigators need to remember this: Relative
inability in verbalizing about certain emotions does not mean that very
young children do not understand them (Lewis, 1989). Even so response
modality (verbal vs. nonverbal) exerted an effect on identification of
emotional expressions (see also Michalson & Lewis, 1985). As
Michalson and Lewis assert, one of the general rules of language
learning is that comprehension precedes production.
Furthermore, it is important to note that the
locus of the Modality x Emotion interaction is the naming/pointing
difference for the fear expression. Naming of and pointing at
expressions are roughly equivalent across modalities for the other
emotions, at fairly high levels. Further, though there were overall age
effects for naming and pointing at emotional expressions, there was
little improvement for naming of the fear expression across age levels.
Lentz (1985) has shown that preschoolers also describe their own fears
in ways which, to adults, are unsophisticated. Young children seem
relatively able to point at the expression of fear, but to have trouble
talking about it; identifying the reason for this dichotomy is a
fruitful avenue for future research.
Specific emotion predictions and error analyses.
Regarding comparisons among emotions, results for interpretation of
situations replicated earlier findings with other, usually older,
samples (cf. Borke, 1971; Carlson, Felleman, & Masters, 1983; Gomby
& Ellsworth, 1985; Michalson & Lewis, 1985; Riess &
Cunningham, 1986). Our results also closely follow others' results for
identification of emotional expressions (e.g., Bullock & Russell,
1984; Walden & Field, 1982), that is, interpretation of happiness
was closely followed by or equal to interpretation of sadness, which
exceeded interpretation of anger, with fear being most difficult to
identify either as an expression or situation.
Error frequencies show that children rarely
confused happiness with negative emotions in identifying happy
expressions and situations. In fact, these young children's
identification of emotional expressions and situations was most like
adults' in the case of happiness (Bullock & Russell, 1984, 1986;
Izard, 1971; Michalson & Lewis, 19850. Moreover, our subjects'
concepts of emotional expressions and situations were organized along
the pleasant/unpleasant dimension. They understood that happy
expressions and situations were pleasant and that sad or "bad"
expressions and situations were negative.
In contrast, negative emotions, compared to
happiness, were indeed difficult to differentiate at these age levels.
The children demonstrated "fuzzy borders" for some of their negative
emotion concepts (Bullock & Russell, 1984, 1986). For example, they
often said "I don't know" in naming negative emotional expressions, and
often picked the sad face when either of the other negative emotions
was the correct choice, especially in the expression recognition and
situation identification tasks.
Situations involving certain negative
emotions, particularly sad and angry, may continue to confuse young
children because both involve similar motivational bases in
interpersonal contexts (Farber & Moely, 1979; Stein & Jewett,
1986). In a given situation, either emotion may be appropriate,
depending on the emphasis given by the particular person --either of
the blocked state, resulting in anger, or the loss of the wanted
object, leading to sadness. Thus, although young children are confusing
anger for sadness in interpreting situations, some of this confusion
may be inherent in the nature of our expressions of these emotions in
our social world. Another possibility is that the children chose
sadness instead of anger in situations because of social desirability
(Felleman et al., 1983). It also is noteworthy that neither angry nor
sad situations are confused with fear-provoking situations; in the case
of fear, an unwanted state of affairs is anticipated, and this crucial
difference may support the rejection o f fear in these cases.
Regardless, age trend s for errors on all three tasks, except for
fearful expressions and situations, and perhaps anger situations,
suggest that four-year-olds have become very competent indeed at
Two- and three-year-olds in this study, when
compared with those in Michalson and Lewis' study (1985), were more
adept at naming happy, sad, angry, and fearful faces, pointing at
faces, and interpretation of angry and fearful situations. Thus, for
the abilities posited to be more difficult (i.e., naming emotional
expressions and interpreting more complex negative emotional
situations), the current methodology may truly obviate earlier
competence/ performance difficulties. Lessened memory demands and
approximation of real-life emotional interaction appears to aid two-
and three-year-olds in demonstrating their substantial emotional
Further, effects of age and specific emotion
were rendered more interpretable for both types of emotion knowledge
because the same subjects were used in measuring each. Moreover, this
design made possible demonstration of the relative dependence of
interpretation of emotional situations on identification of emotional
expressions. Errors which young preschoolers make in their judgments
about emotional expressions and situations also have been more clearly
delineated than before. Knowledge of such errors may facilitate adult
understanding of the specific misperceptions very young children make
in identifying and interpreting emotions. Such adult understanding
could lead to more precise emotion socialization in daycares and
An earlier version of this paper was
presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association,
August, 1986, in Washington, DC. The authors gratefully acknowledge the
assistance and participation of the directors, teachers, and,
especially, the children, of The Carroll County Committee for the
Daycare of Children, Unit III, Westminster, MD (Mrs. Ann Fair,
Director), and The Project for the Study of Young Children (Dr.
Christine Burger, Director).
Reprint requests can be sent to:
Susanne A. Denham
Department of Psychology
George Mason University
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
TABLE 1 Vignettes and Indicators of Emotion Shown by Puppet and Puppeteer in Situation Interpretation Measure
The following chart reads as follows:
Row 1: Vignette Content
Row 2: Hand Puppet's "Body Language"
Row 3: Puppeteer's Facial Cues
Row 4: Puppeteer's Vocal Cues
1 Ice Cream Cone: Happy
"Bounces," spreads arms
Relaxed, "pearly" tones
2 Pushed Down by Peer: Sad
Wipes eyes, Head downcast
Eyes & mouth down-turned
Whiny, crying tones
3 Block Tower Destroyed by Peer: Angry
Eyebrows down, lips pursed
Gruff, growling, abrupt
4 Nightmare: Fear
Hands up Rigid
Eyes wide, mouth gaping
5 Going to to the Zoo: Happy
"Bounces," spreads arms
Relaxed, "pearly" tones
6 Big Wheel Stolen: Sad
Wipes eyes, Head downcast
Eyes & mouth down-turned
Whiny, crying tones
7 Dark: Fear
Hands up Rigid
Eyes wide, mouth gaping
8 Forced to Eat: Angry
Eyebrows down, lips pursed
Gruff, growling, clipped, abrupt
TABLE 2 Mean Scores for the Naming, the Recognition, and the Situation Measures by Age Group and for Total Sample
Emotion Younger Older[a] Total
Happy 0.67 1.00 0.82
(0.48) (0.00) --
Sad 0.62 0.90 0.76
(0.49) (0.30) --
Angry 0.50 0.76 0.62
(0.51) (0.44) --
Afraid 0.08 0.28 0.18
(0.28) (0.46) --
Age Group Mean 0.47 0.74 --
Pointing at Expressions
Happy 0.75 1.00 0.87
(0.44) (0.00) --
Sad 0.62 0.76 0.69
(0.49) (0.44) --
Angry 0.50 0.81 0.64
(0.51) (0.40) --
Afraid 0.46 0.67 0.56
(0.51) (0.48) --
Age Group Mean 0.58 0.81 --
Happy 1.46/1.40[b] 1.81/1.49 1.62
(0.78) (0.51) --
Sad 1.12/1.14 1.62/1.45 1.36
(0.95) (0.74) --
Angry 0.62/0.75 1.33/1.21 0.96
(0.88) (0.91) --
Afraid 0.42/0.74 1.10/1.24 0.73
(0.78) (0.89) --
Age Group 0.91 1.46 --
Note: Standard deviations are in parentheses.
a Mean age of younger group = 35.6 months, of older group = 46.4 months.
b Means adjusted for covariate displayed after slash.
TABLE 3 Error Frequencies for Naming Expressions
Legend for Chart:
A - Errors: Emotion
B - Errors: Happy
C - Errors: Sad
D - Errors: Angry
E - Errors: Afraid
F - Errors: Bad
G - Errors: Don't Know
H - Errors: Other
A B C D E F G H
Total -- 2 0 0 0 5 0
Three's -- 2 0 0 0 5 0
Four's -- 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 -- 1 0 3 5 2
Three's 0 -- 1 0 1 5 2
Four's 0 -- 0 0 2 0 0
Total 0 3 -- 2 3 6 3
Three's 0 3 -- 0 0 5 2
Four's 0 0 -- 1 2 1 1
Total 3 5 7 -- 4 14 4
Three's 3 5 4 -- 1 7 2
Four's 0 0 3 -- 3 7 2
TABLE 4 Error Frequencies for Pointing at Expressions[a]
Emotion Happy Sad Angry Afraid Bad Don't
Total -- 0 3 1 0 3
Happy -- -- -- -- -- --
Three's -- 0 3 1 0 3
Four's -- 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 -- 3 5 2 3
Sad -- -- -- -- -- --
Three's 1 -- 2 2 1 3
Four's 0 -- 1 3 1 0
Total 1 4 -- 6 2 3
Angry -- -- -- -- -- --
Three's 1 4 -- 3 1 3
Four's 0 0 -- 3 1 0
Total 1 9 5 -- 2 4
Afraid -- -- -- -- -- --
Three's 1 6 3 -- 1 3
Four's 0 3 2 -- 1 1
a There were no "other" non-verbal naming responses possible; only four faces were available from which to choose.
TABLE 5 Error Frequencies for Identifying Situations[a]
Emotion Happy Sad Angry Afraid Don't Know
Total -- 5 1 1 8
Happy -- -- -- -- --
Three's -- 5 1 1 8
Four's -- 0 0 0 0
Total 12 -- 4 1 8
Sad -- -- -- -- --
Three's 10 -- 2 0 8
Four's 2 -- 2 1 0
Total 8 19 -- 3 12
Angry -- -- -- -- --
Three's 6 12 -- 1 12
Four's 2 7 -- 2 1
Total 12 22 5 -- 10
Afraid -- -- -- -- --
Three's 11 11 4 -- 10
Four's 1 11 1 -- 0
a Errors for two stories per emotion.
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By Susanne A. Denham and Elizabeth A. Couchoud, George Mason University
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