Emotions, Children’s Understanding of

Emotion understanding is the interpretation and identification of the emotions we experience and observe. In children, emotion understanding skills develop and change and gradually become more adultlike. Children’s understanding of emotions can affect their relationships with their families, peers, and teachers; is related to their school readiness and academic success; and may play a role in some clinical diagnoses and treatment. This entry discusses the development of children’s understanding of emotion. It contrasts traditional assumptions that facial expressions provide the basis of emotion concepts with more recent evidence that emotion concepts are initially broad and valence-based and gradually differentiate until the adult taxonomy of more specific emotion concepts is acquired.

Two Perspectives on the Development of Emotion Understanding

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