Preschoolers' Emotional Understanding of Others Who Are Ethnically the Same or Different
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According to Mayer and Salovey (1997), emotional understanding is the ability to "label emotions and recognize relations among the words and the emotions themselves". While children at an early age are aware of racial differences, do children understand emotions differently for others of another ethnic group? This study considered the potential impact of race on understanding the emotions of others, by focusing on children's accuracy in inferring story characters' emotional response during emotion-eliciting situations. The cultural component involved the racial match between the participant and the story character. Study findings indicate that preschoolers understood others' emotions similarly, regardless of racial background. Study results also examined children's overall accuracy and assignment of emotional intensity. Similar to previous emotional understanding results, preschoolers found happy emotions the most easily identifiable and the most intense. In contrast, angry emotions were the most difficult to identify and the least intense emotion.