Emotional Expressions In Children

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Emotional expressions serve a fundamental role in communication. Expressing emotions and responding to emotions are the earliest forms of social interaction and can be observed directly after birth. In early days, emotional development is thought to be general across cultures and specific childhood experiences and also said to be "innate" (Ekman, 1992). However it is now recognized that the child's early interactions with the social and physical environment contribute highly to child’s emotional development (Dwivedi & Harper, 2004). Emotions have a language with a set of culture-specific manners for emotional expression (Shaffer, 2009). These conducts are known as display rules, which determines when, where and with whom it is applicable to…show more content…
During toddlerhood, approximately 3 to 4 years of age, children develop a more reliable understanding of increasingly complex emotions (Cutting & Dunn, 1999 as cited in Pons, Harris & Rosnay, 2004). Achieving specific tasks can be help to understand some aspects of emotional development at this stage (Herbert 1998, as cited in Dwivedi & Harper, 2004). These tasks include, differentiating between emotion states in self and others (the significance of emotions). For example, they can anticipate the sadness another feels at the loss of a favorite toy. Another task is to learn to contain emotions and the socially appropriate or acceptable expression of emotions (the regulation of emotions), however (Cutting & Dunn, 1999 as cited in Pons, Harris & Rosnay, 2004). Begeer (2007) stated that functional regulation of emotional expressions during social interactions requires emotional skills and an understanding of others’ subjective mental states, i.e., a child needs to control its own emotional expression and has to be able to adequately attend to and recognize the emotional state of the interaction…show more content…
In this model, children are read a series of stories in which the protagonist experiences a specific emotion, but has a reason to conceal her or his real emotion from other story characters. Following the presentation of the stories, children are asked two questions; one about the story protagonist's real feeling and another about her/his apparent or expressed emotion. Several early studies (Gardner, 1998; Gross & Harris, 1988; Harris et al., 1986;) that used this paradigm showed that the 6-year-olds and older children generally answer correctly that the protagonist will display an emotion that is different from what she/he really feels. In contrast, 4-year-olds fail to make this distinction, responding that the protagonist's apparent and real emotion will coincide. These results led Harris (1989, as cited in Plousia, 2006) to conclude that preschool children do not have the ability to distinguish between apparent and real emotions. Supporting to this finding, Naito & Seki (2009) carried out experimental research on 67 Japanese children between the ages of 4- 6 and 8 to find the relation between cognitive and affective social understanding. They also used a similar design as the previous studies (Gardner, 1998; Gross & Harris, 1988; Harris et al., 1986) to find out the display rule tasks in children. In this study they also
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