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Developmental Trends in Children’s Acquisition and Use of Display Rules

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  1. Developmental trends
    1. Development of the ability to manage and regulate one's emotional expressions
    2. Children's expressive control of disappointment
    3. Cole's modification and improvement of the disappointment gift procedure
  2. How children differ on display rules
    1. Girls: Fewer negative behaviors than boys during the gift task
    2. Display rules employed to meet goals
    3. The influences of temperament and risk for psychopathology on children's expression regulation
  3. Future directions
    1. Temperament as an individual differences
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Emotions are innate and adaptive processes that entail the appraisal of life situations for one's well being and a readiness to act to sustain the state of well being (e.g., Barrett & Campos, 1987; Lazarus, 1991). The occurrence of emotion, especially of a basic emotion, usually elicits spontaneous facial expressions. Further, within a social context, an individual's internal emotion state is routinely inferred from their facial expressions, behaviors, and speech. Thus, the ability to display context appropriate emotions even when they are incongruent with internally experienced emotions is clearly valuable in social interactions.

[...] Emotional development in early childhood: A social relationship perspective. In R.J. Davidson, K. R. Scherer, & H. H.Goldsmith (Eds.), Handbook of affective sciences (pp. 295-408). London: Oxford University Press Ekman, P., Friesen, W., & Ellsworth, P. (1972). Emotion in the human face. NewYork: Pergamon. Ekman, P., Roper, G., & Hager, J. C. (1980). Deliberate facial movement. Child Development 267-271. Fabes, R. A., Eisenberg, N., & Karbon, M. (1994). The relations of children's emotion regulation to their vicarious emotional responses and comforting behaviors. [...]

[...] However, it is unclear if this developmental trend exists in their use of display rules. More research on how developmental processes are associated with children's explicit knowledge about their own use of display rules is needed. Possibly, knowledge of own display rule use in children coincides with the development of empathy, self-conscious emotions, and emotional understanding. How Children Differ on Display Rules Any study of display rules from a developmental perspective would be incomplete without the consideration of individual variability. [...]

[...] Children's spontaneous control of facial expression. Child Development 1309-1321. Cole, P. M., Bruschi, C. J., & Tamang, B. L. (2002). Cultural differences in children's emotional reactions to difficult situations. Child Development 983-996. Cole, P. M., & Tamang, B. L. (1998). Nepali children's ideas about emotional displays in hypothetical challenges. Developmental Psychology 640-646. Cole, P. M., Zahn-Waxler, C., & Smith, K. D. (1994). Expressive control during a disappointment: Variations related to preschoolers' behavior problems. Developmental Psychology 835-846. Davis, T. L. (1995). [...]

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