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Identification of facial expressions of emotion by 4-year-old children from different linguistic environments

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Author list: Champoux-Larsson, Marie-France;Dylman, Alexandra;Esteves, Francisco;Örnkloo, Helena

Publication year: 2018

ISSN: 1367-0069

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367006918781069


Abstract

The current study investigated the identification of facial expressions of emotion, a socio-emotional task that has not previously been examined in children from different linguistic environments. Eighty-four 4-year-olds growing up in one of three linguistic environments (monolingual, dominant bilingual, balanced bilingual) performed a task where they identified facial expressions (happiness, anger, sadness, fear). Accuracy was analysed with a mixed-design analysis of variance using group (monolinguals, dominant bilinguals and balanced bilinguals) and emotion (happy, angry, sad and scared) as between- and within-group variables, respectively. Our results showed a main effect of emotion, but there was no main effect of group. This suggests that 4-year-olds’ linguistic environment does not affect performance on an identification of facial expressions task. This study was the first to investigate the identification of facial expressions of emotion in children coming from different linguistic environments. As the socio-emotional development of bilinguals is not yet well understood, especially regarding the visual perception of emotions, this study is amongst the first to contribute to this area of research. Our results are therefore of significance as a building block for additional studies that should explore the visual perception of emotions in other types of tasks and populations.


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