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Preschool children already show interest in other people's mental states. The goal of the present research was to investigate if this interest is refl ected in four to six year-old children's preferences for either emotional or behavioral descriptions of events, and whether there is a correlation between those preferences and their emotion understanding. Thirty-seven children (21 girls and 16 boys) were asked to describe four different movie scenes and their understanding of emotions was assessed. The results revealed an effect of age on the frequency of emotional descriptions, F(2, 34) = 6.7, p 0.01, as well as a correlation between the frequency of emotional descriptions and participants' level of emotion understanding (r = 0.55, p 0.001). These results are consistent with evidence suggesting an increase in the spontaneous production of emotion terms in the preschool years.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





347 - 353