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2011 | 16 | 2 | 178-196
Article title

Rozumienie różnicy między emocją rzeczywistą a okazywaną u dzieci w wieku przedszkolnym

Title variants
Understanding of the difference between real and expressed emotions in middle childhood children
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Children’s understanding of emotion is an important issue in the area of the development of social cognition. The presented research was aimed at investigating when children start to understand emotion as a mental state. The role of the perspective from which children assess the emotion (self-perspective and third person perspective) was also investigated. Valence of emotion and sex of the child were also controlled. 79 4-year old and 80 6-year old children participated in the study. The participants listened to the stories depicting situations which were expected to provoke positive or negative emotion in the stories’ protagonists. However the protagonists were showing reaction which suggested an opposite emotional state. Then, children were asked about the stories protagonists’ real emotions and how they would felt in the similar situations themselves. The order in the sequence of questions about emotions of the story’s protagonist and children’s emotions was controlled. The results show that 4-year old children yet represent emotions rather as an internal mental states than characteristics of behavior (attributions of real emotion were more frequently based on the situations than on the behavioral clues), although this ability undergoes some developmental change during next two years of child’s development. However, a very strong effect of emotion’s valence makes some conclusions not fully warranted. The results are discussed in the contexts of children’s theory of mind, ability to control emotion, and also in the context of socialization processes – patterns of attachment.
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