1932

Abstract

Historically, research characterizing the development of emotion recognition has focused on identifying specific skills and the age periods, or milestones, at which these abilities emerge. However, advances in emotion research raise questions about whether this conceptualization accurately reflects how children learn about, understand, and respond to others’ emotions in everyday life. In this review, we propose a developmental framework for the emergence of emotion reasoning—that is, how children develop the ability to make reasonably accurate inferences and predictions about the emotion states of other people. We describe how this framework holds promise for building upon extant research. Our review suggests that use of the term emotion recognition can be misleading and imprecise, with the developmental processes of interest better characterized by the term emotion reasoning. We also highlight how the age at which children succeed on many tasks reflects myriad developmental processes. This new framing of emotional development can open new lines of inquiry about how humans learn to navigate their social worlds.

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2020-12-15
2024-04-14
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