Publication: Psychological Topics

Monsters and growling dogs: A dual-source theory of the child’s concept of fear

(2013)
Center Authors: Widen, S. C.

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http://ei.yale.edu/publication/monsters-and-growling-dogs-a-dual-source-theory-of-the-childs-concept-of-fear/

The current study examined how children (N=48, 3-5 years) label the emotion of a story’s protagonist who encountered either a realistic or imaginary fear-eliciting creature. Results indicate that young preschoolers attributed fear to both imaginary and realistic creatures approximately half of the time, and their attribution of fear to both imaginary and realistic creatures increased steadily with age. Thus, as predicted, the basis of children’s understanding of fear includes both realistic and imaginary causes of fear.

Kayyal, M. H. & Widen, S. C.  (2013).  Monsters and growling dogs: A dual-source theory of the child’s concept of fear.  Psychological Topics, 22(2), 367-382.

Education and the attribution of emotion to facial expressions

(2013)
Center Authors: Widen, S. C.

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http://ei.yale.edu/publication/education-and-the-attribution-of-emotion-to-facial-expressions/

In the current study (N=96), university-educated and non-university-educated Americans were asked to label purported facial expressions of happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust. The study found that participants with no university education were significantly less likely to label the ʺfear faceʺ as scared or the ʺdisgust faceʺ as disgusted, but more likely to label the ʺanger faceʺ as angry and the ʺsad faceʺ as sad. Education was also related to overall use of disgusted and angry – an effect that might help explain differences in labeling faces.

Trauffer, N., Widen, S. C., & Russell, J. A.  (2013).  Education and the attribution of emotion to facial expressions.  Psychological Topics, 22(2), 237-247.