Facial and verbal measures of children's emotions and empathy

Janet Strayer, William Roberts

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49 Scopus citations


The relation between children's emotional expressions and their reported experience of emotions is relevant to multicomponent models of both emotion and empathy development. Children (N = 73) in three age groups (5-, 9-, and 13-year-olds) participated in a study of their facial and verbal responses to emotionally evocative videotapes. Children were unobtrusively videotaped while they watched these stimuli, and their facial expressions were coded. Children were also interviewed to determine the emotions they attributed to stimulus persons and to themselves. There was significant but modest convergence between facial and verbal measures of emotion, an important finding given the paucity of independent research in this area. In addition, two nonconvergent indices of empathy derived from facial and verbal measures showed some functional similarities in their relations with other variables. On the basis of similar results from other laboratories, we argue that efforts to find converging measures of emotion and empathy should be redirected to study the semi-independent development of facial and verbal emotional responses to the same events. © 1997 The International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-649
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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