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Children's spontaneous emotional expressions while receiving (un)wanted prizes in the presence of peers.

Visser M, Krahmer E, Swerts M - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Results showed that co-presence positively affected children's happiness only when receiving the first prize.Moreover, for children who were in the presence of a peer, we found that eye contact affected children's expressions of happiness, but that the effect was different for different age groups: 8-year-old children were negatively affected, and 11-year-old children positively.Overall, we can conclude that as children grow older and their social awareness increases, the presence of a peer affects their non-verbal expressions, regardless of their appreciation of their prize.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Tilburg Center for Cognition and Communication, Tilburg University, Tilburg Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Although current emotion theories emphasize the importance of contextual factors for emotional expressive behavior, developmental studies that examine such factors are currently thin on the ground. In this research, we studied the course of emotional expressions of 8- and 11-year-old children after winning a (large) first prize or a (substantially smaller) consolation prize, while playing a game competing against the computer or a physically co-present peer. We analyzed their emotional reactions by conducting two perception tests in which participants rated children's level of happiness. Results showed that co-presence positively affected children's happiness only when receiving the first prize. Moreover, for children who were in the presence of a peer, we found that eye contact affected children's expressions of happiness, but that the effect was different for different age groups: 8-year-old children were negatively affected, and 11-year-old children positively. Overall, we can conclude that as children grow older and their social awareness increases, the presence of a peer affects their non-verbal expressions, regardless of their appreciation of their prize.

No MeSH data available.


Experimental setting.
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Figure 1: Experimental setting.

Mentions: Children were seated behind a table, facing the experimenter. In the “present peer” condition, they were placed next to each other and were able to see each other’s face and upper body. They were told that they were about to play a game. In the “computer” condition, there was only one child in the experimental room, who had to compete against the computer. Apart from this, the experimental procedures were identical for both conditions. All children were filmed by separate camera’s standing in front of them (see Figure 1). The experimenter acted as the game leader, but kept the interaction between her and the children as limited as possible, by leading the game according to a script. She avoided making eye contact with children in both conditions by looking at her computer screen in front of her, which was supposed to be the electronic game board. Before the game, the experimenter explained that the player (either the actual participant in the “present peer” condition, or the virtual participant in the “computer” condition) who would collect most game points would win the first prize, and the other player would receive the consolation prize (again, either the actual participant in the “present peer” condition, or the virtual participant in the “computer” condition). Both gifts were wrapped in paper, so the children could not see what the prizes were. However, the wrapped gifts were shown to them before the game started, and were markedly different, with the first prize being rather big and the consolation prize being considerable smaller (see Figure 2). After this introduction, children were asked to indicate how much they would like to win the consolation prize and the first prize, respectively, on a five-point Likert scale, using specific facial representations of the items, a method that is standard in research with children (e.g., Lockl and Schneider, 2002; Visser et al., 2014a,b). Specifically, an unhappy face (corners of the mouth pulled down) represented a score of 1 (“I don’t want this prize at all”), and a happy face (corners of the mouth pulled up) represented a score of 5 (“I want this prize very much”). Children of both age groups had no difficulties in understanding this scale.


Children's spontaneous emotional expressions while receiving (un)wanted prizes in the presence of peers.

Visser M, Krahmer E, Swerts M - Front Psychol (2015)

Experimental setting.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4585014&req=5

Figure 1: Experimental setting.
Mentions: Children were seated behind a table, facing the experimenter. In the “present peer” condition, they were placed next to each other and were able to see each other’s face and upper body. They were told that they were about to play a game. In the “computer” condition, there was only one child in the experimental room, who had to compete against the computer. Apart from this, the experimental procedures were identical for both conditions. All children were filmed by separate camera’s standing in front of them (see Figure 1). The experimenter acted as the game leader, but kept the interaction between her and the children as limited as possible, by leading the game according to a script. She avoided making eye contact with children in both conditions by looking at her computer screen in front of her, which was supposed to be the electronic game board. Before the game, the experimenter explained that the player (either the actual participant in the “present peer” condition, or the virtual participant in the “computer” condition) who would collect most game points would win the first prize, and the other player would receive the consolation prize (again, either the actual participant in the “present peer” condition, or the virtual participant in the “computer” condition). Both gifts were wrapped in paper, so the children could not see what the prizes were. However, the wrapped gifts were shown to them before the game started, and were markedly different, with the first prize being rather big and the consolation prize being considerable smaller (see Figure 2). After this introduction, children were asked to indicate how much they would like to win the consolation prize and the first prize, respectively, on a five-point Likert scale, using specific facial representations of the items, a method that is standard in research with children (e.g., Lockl and Schneider, 2002; Visser et al., 2014a,b). Specifically, an unhappy face (corners of the mouth pulled down) represented a score of 1 (“I don’t want this prize at all”), and a happy face (corners of the mouth pulled up) represented a score of 5 (“I want this prize very much”). Children of both age groups had no difficulties in understanding this scale.

Bottom Line: Results showed that co-presence positively affected children's happiness only when receiving the first prize.Moreover, for children who were in the presence of a peer, we found that eye contact affected children's expressions of happiness, but that the effect was different for different age groups: 8-year-old children were negatively affected, and 11-year-old children positively.Overall, we can conclude that as children grow older and their social awareness increases, the presence of a peer affects their non-verbal expressions, regardless of their appreciation of their prize.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Tilburg Center for Cognition and Communication, Tilburg University, Tilburg Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Although current emotion theories emphasize the importance of contextual factors for emotional expressive behavior, developmental studies that examine such factors are currently thin on the ground. In this research, we studied the course of emotional expressions of 8- and 11-year-old children after winning a (large) first prize or a (substantially smaller) consolation prize, while playing a game competing against the computer or a physically co-present peer. We analyzed their emotional reactions by conducting two perception tests in which participants rated children's level of happiness. Results showed that co-presence positively affected children's happiness only when receiving the first prize. Moreover, for children who were in the presence of a peer, we found that eye contact affected children's expressions of happiness, but that the effect was different for different age groups: 8-year-old children were negatively affected, and 11-year-old children positively. Overall, we can conclude that as children grow older and their social awareness increases, the presence of a peer affects their non-verbal expressions, regardless of their appreciation of their prize.

No MeSH data available.