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Gender Differences in the Use of Emotion Words by Colombian Children Lisette Moreno New York University.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender Differences in the Use of Emotion Words by Colombian Children Lisette Moreno New York University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender Differences in the Use of Emotion Words by Colombian Children Lisette Moreno New York University

2 Acknowledgements Gigliana Melzi, Ph.D. Camila Fernández, Ph.D. Joy Kennedy Child Language Research Team

3 Development of Narrative Discourse Daily conversations between caregivers and children are important for children’s language development. These conversations play a formative role in the development of narrative abilities. The most salient conversations occur in the context of talking about past experiences and shared storytelling. Not only are narratives important for cognitive and literacy development, but also for socio-emotional development, specifically gender socialization.

4 Emotion & Gender Socialization Parents use emotion words more with girls than they do with boys (Fivush, 1989; Flannagan & Perese, 1998). Likewise, when talking with parents, girls use more emotion words than boys (Buckner & Fivush, 1998; Cervantes, 2002; Kuebli, Butler & Fivush, 1995). These differences reflect gender socialization patterns such that girls are socialized to be more expressive about their feelings than are boys. As the majority of these studies have used European American English speaking samples, there is a limited amount of information about other populations.

5 Culture, Emotion & Gender Socialization The few studies conducted with culturally diverse samples from the U.S. (e.g., Latinos & African Americans) report gender differences in the discussion of emotions parallel to the findings with European American populations (Cervantes, 2002; Flannagan & Perese, 1998). The few studies with other populations living outside of the U.S. (e.g. Melzi & Fernández, 2004) show a different gender-based pattern of emotion word use. These studies are very few in number and therefore not generalizable to all Latin American groups. Furthermore, they have only focused on one conversational context, mother-child conversations about the past. Therefore, there is little knowledge about how Latin American children talk about emotions in diverse contexts, such as independent narrations.

6 Research Questions How do monolingual Spanish-speaking Colombian children include emotion words in their independent narrative productions?  Types of emotions discussed  Conversational contexts Are there age group and gender differences in the amount of emotion words used and in the manner in which they are used?

7 Methods One hundred and fourteen monolingual Spanish-speaking children (58 boys and 56 girls) from Bogotá, Colombia were recruited for a larger project (Fernández, 2007). Children’s ages ranged 4 to 8 years (M = 79.9 months; SD = 8.7 months). Children were asked to tell their own story based on the wordless book Frog, Where Are You? (Meyer, 1969) Narratives were audio recorded, then transcribed and verified using a standardized system (MacWhinney, 2000).

8 Coding: Types of Emotion Words Love (querer) Surprise (soprendido) Anger (bravo) Jealous (celoso) Scared (asustado) Dislike (no le gustaba) Happy (feliz, contento) Bother (molestar) Sad (triste) Like (gustar) Other

9 Coding: Conversation Contexts Description: When the child stated the emotion word within a single utterance without addressing a cause or consequence. Y ahora el niño se ponía bravo con el perro. And now the boy was angry with the dog. ■ Explanation: When the child explicitly explained the cause or consequence of the emotion discussed. Y se puso triste porque no había encontrado (a) su rana. And he was sad because he couldn’t find the frog.

10 Results 78% (n = 89) of all children used emotion words in their narratives. (See Figure 1.) Emotions were described (54%) or explained (46%) to a similar extent. Analyses revealed no age differences in emotion word use. There were significant gender differences for both total use of emotions F(1, 85) = 3.92, p =.05 and use of positive emotions F(1, 85) = 5.90, p <.05. (See Figures 2 & 3.) No gender differences were found in the use of negative emotion words.

11 Figure 1: Emotion Words (n = 89)

12 Figure 2: Total Use By Gender 2.53 (1.90)3.55 (2.71)

13 1.08 (1.29).48 (1.08) Figure 3: Positive Emotions by Gender

14 ■ Y el perro se cayó y rompió el cristal. Y el niño se puso bravo con él. [And the dog fell and broke the glass. And the boy was angry with him] ■ 91% (n = 57) of all children who talked about anger, used it in this particular page. ■ No gender differences were found.

15 ■ El perro estaba contento y el niño. Y las ranas también estaban contentas y tuvieron hijos.[ The dog was happy and the boy. And the frogs were also happy and they had children.] ■ 62% (n=23) of all children who used happy did so in this page. Of these children, 78% were girls (n = 18) and 22% were boys (n= 5).

16 Discussion and Conclusion ■ Results showed gender differences in the total use of emotion words and in the types of emotions discussed by boys and girls. ■ In particular, girls tended to include more emotion words than did boys corroborating findings from U.S. studies. ■ In contrast to findings from previous U.S. studies, girls used more positive emotion words than boys especially toward the end of the book. This might suggest that Colombian girls wanted to end the story in a positive way much like a fairy tale ending, where everyone lives happily ever after. ■ Both boys and girls talked about anger to similar extents and in the same context, showing that they are able to identify characters’ emotions through facial expressions. ■ In conclusion, results suggest both differences and similarities in the ways that Colombian and U.S. American boys and girls include emotions in their independent narratives.

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