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Why is That Girl Scared?: Infants' Understanding of Older Children's Emotions

Nichols, Sara Rachel (2008) Why is That Girl Scared?: Infants' Understanding of Older Children's Emotions. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In the wake of growing interest in the development of very young children's intention, desire, and emotion understanding, the issue of children's competencies in their peer interactions has been largely ignored. Social referencing studies have suggested that by 12 months of age infants have the ability to use emotion-laden information provided by an adult to modify their behavior toward a strange or novel object. In this study, a social referencing paradigm was employed to examine whether 12- , 18-, and 24-month-old children can use an older child's positive and negative expressions towards one toy (but not toward a distracter toy) to direct their own behavior toward or away from that toy. Results indicated that when presented with an older child's affect towards a novel toy 12-month-old children performed randomly while 18-month-old children reduced their touch to the target toy in the negative condition only. Twenty-four-month-old children increased their touch to both toys regardless of the direction of the affect that they viewed. The results suggest that the developmental course of understanding and utilizing older children's emotions differs substantially from the ability to glean and use emotion information provided by adults.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Nichols, Sara Rachelsrn1@pitt.eduSRN1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBrownell, Celiabrownell@pitt.eduBROWNELL
Committee MemberShaw, Danielcasey@pitt.eduCASEY
Committee MemberStrauss, Markstrauss@pitt.eduSTRAUSS
Date: 17 January 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 14 March 2007
Approval Date: 17 January 2008
Submission Date: 15 November 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: emotion understanding; peers; social referencing
Other ID:, etd-11152007-112553
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:04
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:51


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