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Emotion Perception in Early Childhood: Relations with Attachment Security and Internal Working Models

LAWS, SHEENA,ELIZABETH (2009) Emotion Perception in Early Childhood: Relations with Attachment Security and Internal Working Models. Masters thesis, Durham University.



An Individual's ability to recognise emotional expressions from other affective displays is thought to be linked to early atypical environmental experience (Pollack, Klorman, Thatcher & Chiccetti, 2001; Pollack & Sinha, 2002), and adult close relationships (e.g Feeney, Noller and Callan, 1994; Neidenthal, Brauer, Robin & Innes-Ker, 2002). However, despite these findings, no work has previously addressed emotion recognition skill within the framework of young children's attachment status and internal working models (IWMs), nor using both dynamic facial expressions and expressive body movement to do so.

The present study recruited five and six year old children (mean age 5.62), n = 38, from two separate SES backgrounds (low-middle class and middle class), from the northeast of England to investigate links between individual differences in young children's mental representations (IWMs) of the attachment relationship and emotion recognition skill, in an attempt to provide a clearer view, of the potential impact, of variation in early caregiving on an individual's emotion recognition skill.

Children's attachment orientation was assessed using the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task (MCAST) (Green, Stanley & Goldwyn, 2001), and emotion recognition skill was tested using the Animated Full Facial Expression Test (AFFECT) (Gagliardi, Figerio, Burt, Cazzaniga, Perrett & Borgatti, 2003), and the Full-light Dynamic Body Expression Task (Atkinson, Tunstall & Dittrich, 2007).

Group comparisons demonstrated no evidence for a link between the key variables of emotion recognition, attachment and IWMs. The findings are discussed in relation to the small sample size of the insecure group, as well as age related differences generally, in children's emotion recognition skill in the preschool period. In addition, recommendations for future research are addressed.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Keywords:Attachment, Internal Working Models, Emotion Recognition
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Psychology, Department of
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Dec 2009 13:55

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