Project Description

How is this child feeling? Preschool-aged children’s ability to recognize emotion in faces and body poses.

Parker, A. E., Mathis, E. T., & Kupersmidt, J. B. (2013). How is this child feeling? Preschool-aged children’s ability to recognize emotion in faces and body poses. Early Education and Development, 24(2), 188-211. PMC4821465

Abstract

ObjectivesThe study examined children’s recognition of emotion from faces and body poses, as well as gender differences in these recognition abilities. 

MethodPreschool-aged children (N=55) and their parents and teachers participated in the study. Preschool-aged children completed a web-based measure of emotion recognition skills that included 5 tasks (3 with faces and 2 with bodies). Parents and teachers reported on children’s aggressive behaviors and social skills.

ResultsChildren’s emotion accuracy on 2 of the 3 facial tasks and 1 of the body tasks was related to teacher reports of social skills. Some of these relations were moderated by child gender. In particular, the relationships between emotion recognition accuracy and reports of children’s behavior were stronger for boys than girls. 

ConclusionPractice or Policy: Identifying preschool-aged children’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of the identification of emotion from faces and body poses may be helpful in guiding interventions with children who have problems with social and behavioral functioning that may be due in part to emotion knowledge deficits. Further developmental implications of these findings are discussed.