Chapter published in:Narrative, Literacy and Other Skills: Studies in intervention
Edited by Edy Veneziano and Ageliki Nicolopoulou
[Studies in Narrative 25] 2019
► pp. 129–147
Enhancing mental state language and emotion understanding of toddlers’ social cognition
The role of narrative and conversation
This study investigated whether conversing about emotions in day-care center enhanced toddlers’ spontaneous use of mental state language and emotion understanding, both of which are key components of social cognition. In the course of a three-month intervention, the children assigned to the experimental condition (N = 29) participated daily in bookreading sessions of stories with high emotional content. Bookreadings were followed by a conversation, held in small groups, about the emotional states featured in the stories. The children assigned to the control condition (N = 28), after listening to the same stories, engaged in free play. At post-test, children in the experimental condition significantly outperformed the control group on measures of mental state language and emotion understanding, even after controlling for verbal abilities and age. These findings suggest the value of having children as young as 2–3 years participate in conversational activities about emotional experiences and inner states.
Keywords: social cognition, mental state language, emotional lexicon, emotion understanding, intervention study
Published online: 06 May 2019
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Cited by 1 other publications
Conte, Elisabetta, Veronica Ornaghi, Ilaria Grazzani, Alessandro Pepe & Valeria Cavioni
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