The Relation Between Emotion Production Behavior and Preschool Social Behavior: In the Eye of the Beholder


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Abstract

Two questions were examined with a sample of preschool children: (a) What is the relation between emotion production behavior and classroom social behavior?; and (b) Does familiarity with a child affect the perception of emotion expressions and the relations between emotion expressions and social behavior? Two theoretical perspectives on the ‘eye of the beholder’ (familiarity) were evaluated: reputation bias and generalized effects. Sixty-eight (55% female) children were photographed posing emotion expressions (e.g., happy, sad, and angry). Expressions were rated by classmates, peer strangers, and adults. Classmates and teachers evaluated social behavior. Analyses indicated that children who were more negative and dependent had angry production biases and were likely to display happy expressions instead of sad. Results support the reputation bias and generalized familiarity theories.

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