Sources of Inflexibility in 6-Year-Olds' Understanding of Emotion in Speech

J. Bruce Morton, Sandra E. Trehub, Philip David Zelazo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

When utterances contain conflicting emotion cues, 6-year-olds judge emotion from content, even when instructed to judge emotion from paralanguage (Morton & Trehub, 2001). Two experiments examined the nature of this bias. In Experiment 1, priming paralanguage reversed 6-year-olds' normal bias to content. In Experiment 2, 6-year-olds were instructed to listen to paralanguage under various conditions. Children were more likely to follow instructions delivered with feedback than instructions delivered alone. Children who described conflicts between content and paralanguage were more likely to follow instructions than children who did not describe these conflicts. Results suggest that 6-year-olds can judge emotion from paralanguage in the presence of competing content but often remain focused on content because of the way they represent the instructions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1857-1868
Number of pages12
JournalChild development
Volume74
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

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