Screaming, yelling, whining, and crying: Categorical and intensity differences in vocal expressions of anger and sadness in children’s tantrums. Emotion, 11(5), 1124-1133

Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, 406 Babbidge Road, Storrs, CT 06269-1020, USA.
Emotion (Impact Factor: 3.88). 06/2011; 11(5):1124-33. DOI: 10.1037/a0024173
Source: PubMed


Young children's temper tantrums offer a unique window into the expression and regulation of strong emotions. Previous work, largely based on parental report, suggests that two emotions, anger and sadness, have different behavioral manifestations and different time courses within tantrums. Individual motor and vocal behaviors, reported by parents, have been interpreted as representing different levels of intensity within each emotion category. The present study used high-fidelity audio recordings to capture the acoustic features of children's vocalizations during tantrums. Results indicated that perceptually categorized screaming, yelling, crying, whining, and fussing each have distinct acoustic features. Screaming and yelling form a group with similar acoustic features while crying, whining, and fussing form a second acoustically related group. Within these groups, screaming may reflect a higher intensity of anger than yelling while fussing, whining, and crying may reflect an increasing intensity of sadness.

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    • "Furthermore, our findings about anger source add to the increasing literature on emotions that go beyond a valence approach (Green et al. 2011; Lerner and Keltner 2000; Van Mechelen and Hennes 2009). As one of the first studies to consider the role of anger source in negotiations, our findings show that anger suppression influenced negotiators' attentional focus differently depending on whether the anger was integral or incidental to the negotiation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the intrapersonal effects of anger suppression in negotiations. Specifically, we examined when and how anger suppression influences negotiation effectiveness, proposing that suppressing anger may reduce negotiators’ ability to focus on the negotiation and increase their cognitive exhaustion, both of which would in turn lower negotiators’ performance. In addition, we proposed that suppressing anger integral to the negotiation is more costly than suppressing anger incidental to the negotiation. Design/Methodology/Approach Data were obtained from a controlled laboratory experiment in which a total of 204 undergraduate students participated in a computer-mediated negotiation. Findings Negotiators who suppressed their anger, compared to those who did not, were less able to focus on the negotiation, which in turn decreased their negotiation performance. The indirect negative effect was only significant when negotiators suppressed anger integral rather than incidental to the negotiation. Implications The findings suggest that negotiators should be aware when it is (not) detrimental to suppress anger in negotiations. Particularly, negotiators need to be careful and may adopt strategies to maintain their attentional focus when they attempt to suppress anger that is induced by the negotiation process. Originality/Value Integrating research on emotion regulation with negotiation research, this study is one of the first to investigate the intrapersonal effects of anger suppression in negotiations. More significantly, this study identified both an important psychological mechanism and a moderator of the effects of anger suppression on negotiations.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Business and Psychology
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    • "Behaviors of hit-mother, grab-toy, slap-desk, flap-hands, stamp/jump, down (lie on the floor) and away (walk away from mother) as well as the negative vocalizations of whine, cry and scream/shout were likewise coded 0 or 1 for each epoch. According to Green et al. (2011), cry often has an up and down melody, seems effortful, and can be one consistent sound or interrupted vocalizations, as in sobbing. Whine is usually a longer duration melody with some verbal content, or a relatively high pitched monotonous noise without content. "
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    ABSTRACT: A hierarchical cluster analysis of the time course of the videotaped reactions of 75 Chinese 2–4-year olds to mothers’ toy-removal identified Distress, Low Anger, and High Anger behavior clusters. Anger often begins at low intensity; some children then escalate. The face-validity of Low and High Anger-cluster classifications was supported in that High Anger was displayed by a subset of the children who had first showed Low Anger. The three clusters had different and interpretable correlations with mothers’ temperament ratings. Developmentally, 2-year-olds displayed more Distress, including crying; 3-year-olds showed more Low Anger, including stamp-jump. While Low Anger is predominant during toy-removal in Chinese children, it is, contrastingly, the least-frequent component in the tantrums of North American children.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · International Journal of Behavioral Development
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    • "Incorporation of developmentally specified expressions of a broader range of negative affect may enhance the MAP-DB Temper Loss scale's clinical salience for mood problems. For example, Potegal and colleagues have proposed an 'anger-distress' model, which incorporates sadness as a tantrum feature (Green et al., 2011 "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Temper modulation problems are both a hallmark of early childhood and a common mental health concern. Thus, characterizing specific behavioral manifestations of temper loss along a dimension from normative misbehaviors to clinically significant problems is an important step toward identifying clinical thresholds. Methods: Parent-reported patterns of temper loss were delineated in a diverse community sample of preschoolers (n = 1,490). A developmentally sensitive questionnaire, the Multidimensional Assessment of Preschool Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB), was used to assess temper loss in terms of tantrum features and anger regulation. Specific aims were: (a) document the normative distribution of temper loss in preschoolers from normative misbehaviors to clinically concerning temper loss behaviors, and test for sociodemographic differences; (b) use Item Response Theory (IRT) to model a Temper Loss dimension; and (c) examine associations of temper loss and concurrent emotional and behavioral problems. Results: Across sociodemographic subgroups, a unidimensional Temper Loss model fit the data well. Nearly all (83.7%) preschoolers had tantrums sometimes but only 8.6% had daily tantrums. Normative misbehaviors occurred more frequently than clinically concerning temper loss behaviors. Milder behaviors tended to reflect frustration in expectable contexts, whereas clinically concerning problem indicators were unpredictable, prolonged, and/or destructive. In multivariate models, Temper Loss was associated with emotional and behavioral problems. Conclusions: Parent reports on a developmentally informed questionnaire, administered to a large and diverse sample, distinguished normative and problematic manifestations of preschool temper loss. A developmental, dimensional approach shows promise for elucidating the boundaries between normative early childhood temper loss and emergent psychopathology.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
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