Emotion recognition in referred and non-referred minority children
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Children's abilities to recognize both discrete and more ambiguous facial displays of emotion were assessed and compared in two groups of children. Subjects included children from two age groups (8-10 and 10-12 years), half of whom were male or female, and either African-American or Hispanic. Half the subjects (n = 38) consisted of referred children who were sent to a school counselor for various problems and half (n = 38) consisted of the control group which was matched for ethnicity, age and gender. Subjects were presented with 40 photos of children displaying various emotional expressions. Subjects selected from five emotion choices (happy, sad, mad, scared, and okay), and judged the intensity of the emotion on a three-point chart (e.g., "a little happy", "happy", or "very happy"). Teachers completed the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) for each subject, in order to obtain an overall assessment of each child's functioning.;Results revealed that referred subjects had significantly higher problem scores on the CBCL than control subjects which was further qualified by the emergence of a number of gender and ethnic differences. Hispanic control subjects recognized more mixed emotions than referred Hispanic subjects, however, African-American control and referred subjects did not differ from each other. Older subjects accuracy and recognition of basic and mixed emotions was better than younger subjects. Happiness was recognized more readily than other emotions by both age groups. Analyses of subjects' (a) systematic errors, (b) preferences within the mixed emotion combinations, and (c) ratings of emotional intensity indicated that subjects' ethnicity and referral status influenced their judgments.;Results for Hispanic subjects indicated that children who are referred for psychological support services will be less accurate at recognizing emotions non-referred. In some analyses, referred African-American subjects performed better than control subjects.
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