Children's consensual knowledge about the experiential determinants of emotion

R. Christopher Barden*, Frank A. Zelko, S. Wayne Duncan, John C. Masters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Gave 3 groups (kindergartners, 3rd graders, and 6th graders) of 32 Ss each vignettes describing experiences that were likely to produce emotional states, and determined their consensus about the probable affective reaction. A sample of 8 social and personal (private) experiences was used in the vignettes: success, failure, dishonesty (caught or not caught), experiencing nurturance or aggression, and experiencing justified or unjustified punishment. The potential affective reactions that Ss were asked to choose among included happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and neutral affect. There were no sex differences. Ss of all ages agreed that relatively simple experiences such as success and nurturance would elicit a happy reaction. For other categories of experience, multiple consensus appeared for more than one affective reaction. There were developmental differences in the affective reactions anticipated to 5 of the 8 experience categories. Results are discussed in terms of cognitive and social learning determinants of knowledge about the experiential antecedents of emotion for oneself and others. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-976
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 1980


  • 3rd &
  • 5th graders
  • age differences, consensual knowledge of experiential determinants of emotion, kindergartners &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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