Perspective taking in children's narratives about jealousy

The College of Staten Island, City University of New York, USA.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology (Impact Factor: 1.96). 03/2011; 29(Pt 1):86-109. DOI: 10.1348/026151010X533238
Source: PubMed


This study explored relationships between perspective-taking, emotion understanding, and children's narrative abilities. Younger (23 5-/6-year-olds) and older (24 7-/8-year-olds) children generated fictional narratives, using a wordless picture book, about a frog experiencing jealousy. Children's emotion understanding was assessed through a standardized test of emotion comprehension and their ability to convey the jealousy theme of the story. Perspective-taking ability was assessed with respect to children's use of narrative evaluation (i.e., narrative coherence, mental state language, supplementary evaluative speech, use of subjective language, and placement of emotion expression). Older children scored higher than younger children on emotion comprehension and on understanding the story's complex emotional theme, including the ability to identify a rival. They were more advanced in perspective-taking abilities, and selectively used emotion expressions to highlight story episodes. Subjective perspective taking and narrative coherence were predictive of children's elaboration of the jealousy theme. Use of supplementary evaluative speech, in turn, was predictive of both subjective perspective taking and narrative coherence.

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