International Journal of Behavioral Development | VOL. 28

Emotional understanding in Quechua children from an agro-pastoralist village

Publication Date Sep 1, 2004


Research on children’s understanding of emotion has rarely focused on children from nonindustrialised countries, who may develop an understanding at different ages as compared to children reared in industrialised countries. Quechua children from an agro-pastoralist village were given an adapted version of the Test of Emotion Comprehension (TEC) to assess their understanding of nine aspects of emotions. Older children performed better on the entire TEC than younger children. Eight- to 11-year-olds were more accurate in identifying emotions connected to individual desires and to a moral misdemeanour than were 4- to 7-year-olds. In addition, there was a trend for 8- to 11-year-olds to understand external causes of emotions better than 4- to 7-year-olds. Compared to British children, the Quechua children were less accurate overall. However, similar to the British children, certain aspects of emotion (e.g., recognition) were understood at younger ages than others (e.g., regulation), suggesting similar patterns in the sequence of emotional understanding despite the radical difference in cultural context. In contrast to children from industrialised settings, children from this Quechua village have little access to formal education. Moreover, Quechua children have fewer opportunities to engage in discussions about emotions with adults, which may also contribute to how well they performed on the TEC. Suggestions for improving the TEC and including a more naturalistic testing situation are made.


Test Of Emotion Comprehension Quechua Children Aspects Of Emotion Emotional Understanding Nonindustrialised Countries External Causes Cultural Context Younger Children Younger Ages Test Of Comprehension

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