Children’s Understanding of Emotion Causes: Question of Future Cover Image

Dečje razumevanje uzroka emocija: slučaj budućnosti
Children’s Understanding of Emotion Causes: Question of Future

Author(s): Jovan Mirić, Ana Jevtić
Subject(s): Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology
Published by: Društvo psihologa Srbije
Keywords: mental states; representation; basic emotions; beliefs; expectations;

Summary/Abstract: Question of development of children’s understanding of emotions causes has attracted a significant research attention. Child’s understanding of present wishes and beliefs, as well as understanding of past events as being the cause of emotions, has been researched. Research reported in this paper expands upon the issues of child’s understanding of emotions in relation to the future. It starts with the question of determining the age at which a child begins to understand that emotions might be caused by mental states related to the future – through imagining or expecting the future events. Three basic emotions (fear, happiness, and sadness) has been selected and for each of them two simple stories have been created: one for immediate and other for the more distant future. Stories were illustrated and given to the group of 24 participants (12 boys and 12 girls) ages of 5, 8 and 11 (total N = 72). Overall findings are in accord with previous research in the field. It’s been determined that even preschool children can understand mental states related to the future. Such mental states more often occur as explanation of fear than of happiness or sadness, while the transitional age from situational to mental states explanations is between ages of five to eight.

  • Issue Year: 45/2012
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 327-338
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Serbian