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Title:Children's organization and development of emotion: attachment relationships, perceptual asymmetry, and executive functioning
Author(s):Choi, Eunsil
Director of Research:Bost, Kelly
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McElwain, Nancy L.; McBride, Brent A.; Wiley, Angela R.; Roisman, Glenn I.
Department / Program:Human & Community Development
Discipline:Human & Community Development
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Emotion Recognition
Emotion Expression
Attachment Relationships
Perceptual Asymmetry
Executive Functioning
Abstract:The goals of present study were to examine the unique and interactive effects of preschool children’s attachment security, perceptual asymmetry in the processing of emotion, and executive functioning (EF) on their recognition of different emotions, emotion expression, and social initiations among peers. A total of 65 three to five year-old children (37 girls, 28 boys) completed attachment story-stem doll plays, the Chimeric Faces Task (CFT) to assess perceptual asymmetry in the processing of emotion, and emotion recognition task. Head teachers of the children completed a standard EF. Observers documented children’s frequency of expressed affect and valence of social initiations among peers in the preschool classroom. Consistent with attachment theory, secure children were more likely to recognize different emotions and expressed positive emotions more often than insecure children. Children’s executive functioning was a unique predictor of children’s negative affect expression and initiations above and beyond perceptual asymmetry, child age, gender, and language ability. Finally, attachment security was found to moderate the relations between flexibility, a subscale of EF, and children’s positive affect expression. Children’s capacities to modify behavior and affect to new situations affected their experience of positive emotion only when they were insecure. In contrast, secure children expressed positive emotions frequently regardless of their EF flexibility. The results of this study contribute to our understanding of the interconnectedness between emotion and cognition. In addition, the findings highlight the notion that attachment security plays a crucial role in capacities to embrace and express positive emotions in addition to buffering the negative effects of EF inflexibility on experiencing positive emotion.
Issue Date:2012-02-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Eunsil Choi
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-02-06
Date Deposited:2011-12

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