ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2009, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (01): 62-68.

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  1. 浙江大学心理与行为科学系,杭州,310028
  • 收稿日期:2006-06-27 修回日期:1900-01-01 出版日期:2009-01-30 发布日期:2009-01-30
  • 通讯作者: 徐琴美

Young Children’s Understanding of Emotion Situations
in Anger and Sadness

HE Jie;XU Qin-Mei   

  1. Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028, China
  • Received:2006-06-27 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2009-01-30 Published:2009-01-30
  • Contact: XU Qin-Mei

摘要: 考察三类成人(113名幼儿母亲、42名幼儿教师、221名大学生)对西方研究者常用的22个生气和伤心情景中幼儿情绪的推断;以中国成人的情绪情景理解为标准,进一步考察120名4-6岁幼儿生气和伤心情景理解能力的发展。结果表明:三类成人一致推断的6个生气情景和6个伤心情景,与西方研究者的界定基本一致;幼儿的伤心情景理解能力显著高于生气情景理解能力;4岁幼儿的伤心情景理解能力显著低于5岁和6岁幼儿

关键词: 幼儿, 生气, 伤心, 情绪理解

Abstract: Anger and sadness as two basic negative emotions play important roles in children’s social development. Anger was associated with sadness in many situations. But anger was considered as a self-focused emotion while sadness was considered as an other-focused one (Kitayama, 2000). Earlier studies on children’s understanding of emotion situations suggested that young children began to infer basic emotions from situations (Denham, 1990). This study tended to examine inference of children’s emotion in angry and sad situations in three kinds of adults (children’s mothers, children’s teachers and undergraduate students), in order to explore whether these emotion situations, which were originally proposed by Western researchers, apply to Chinese background. Based on the standard of reports of three adults, we further aimed to reveal young children’s development of understanding of emotion situations in anger and sadness.
Children who were 46- to 81-month-old (N=120) from two kindergartens and their mothers (N=113) were recruited from Chinese middle-class population. Children’s teachers (N=42) and undergraduate students (N=221) were also participated in this study. By filling out the diffuse questionnaire, adults (mothers, teachers and undergraduate students) judged children’s probabilities of anger and sadness elicited in 22 hypothetical situations selected from Western studies (8 angry situations, 9 sad situations, 5 angry-sad equivocal situations) (Denham, 1990a, 1990b; Glasberg, 1981; Gnepp, 1987; Hubbard, 2001; Hughes, 2002; Jenkins, 2000; Levine, 1995; Ribordy, 1988; Rothbart, 1994; Wang, 2003; Whitesell, 1996; Zeman, 1996). Using clinical interview with a computer program, children were asked to choose the facial expression (anger, sadness) depicting the protagonist’s feeling states in the same situations. The Chi-Square analyses and T-Test analyses were performed.
Results indicated that: (1) Among 22 situations, three kinds of adults reported children would feel angry in 6 situations such as “Award taken away by peer”, “Toy snatched away by peer”, “Being hit by peer”, and would feel sad in 6 situations such as “Losing favorite toy”, “Best friend moved away”, “Not get the wanted toy”. Moreover, adults’ understanding was consistent with the definition of previous researchers. (2) According to the standard of reports of three adults, children were scored 1 point when their reports were consistent with the standard, scored 0 point when not. Children’s understanding of sad situations was better than their understanding of angry situations. (3) The 5-year-old and 6-year-old children’s understanding of sad situations was better than 4-year-old children.
In conclusions, the situations in anger and sadness defined by Western researchers were consistent with the reference of children’s emotion in children’s mothers, children’s teachers and undergraduate students. Children’s understanding of sad situations was gradually developed in early childhood. Further research about the development of the understanding of angry situations in older children will be proposed

Key words: young children, anger, sadness, understanding of emotion