Preschool, third-grade, and sixth-grade children and adults were presented with vignettes depicting eight types of experiences (e.g., success, failure, dishonesty that is discovered) and asked what would be their own (for children) or a preschool, third-grade, or sixth-grade child's (for adults) emotional reaction. Without exception, adults' expectancies agreed with those of third- and sixth-grade students. However, adults' expectancies about preschoolers' affect varied significantly from preschoolers' own accounts for vignettes presenting experiences of success, dishonesty that is discovered, dishonesty that is not discovered, being the target of aggression, and unjustified punishment. However, adults and preschoolers agreed in predicted affective responses to failure, nurturance, and justified punishment. Overall, adults did not differentiate their predictions as a function of the age of the child whose affective reactions they were asked to predict, indicating an absence of developmental considerations in their implicit theories of children's emotional responsiveness. Results are discussed within a framework of social cognition, focusing on the nature and development of implicit theories about affect and on questions regarding the accuracy of such theories.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies