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J Exp Child Psychol. 1995 Apr;59(2):299-316.

Verbal and facial measures of children's emotion and empathy.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between two theoretically distinct aspects of children's emotional responses (Lewis & Michalson, 1983), their emotional experience (via verbal report) and emotional state (via nonverbal expression), in response to emotion-evoking stimuli. A related objective was to assess the concordance of these two verbal and nonverbal measures as indices of empathy, i.e., affective responses consistent with those of stimulus persons. Facial expressions of 60 10-year-old girls were unobtrusively videotaped while they individually viewed six stimulus vignettes. Half of these children pressed a button to indicate awareness of emotional arousal while viewing stimuli; half served as controls. Results indicated that emotional and empathic responses were not affected by the button press procedure, or by a social desirability response set. Expressive responses at button presses were microanalytically analyzed using AFFEX. Postviewing interviews assessed children's reported emotions and the affect match (empathy) between children's reported emotion for themselves and stimulus characters. Results indicated modest associations between the emotions children reported and those facially displayed and similar associations between children's verbal and facial empathy scores. Results address the concurrent validity of different measures of children's emotions, and contribute to the small number of extant multimethod studies on children's emotional responses and empathy.

PMID:
7722437
DOI:
10.1006/jecp.1995.1013
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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