Children’s emotions are determined more by what they hear than what they see. This is according to the latest study by the Durham University’s Department of Psychology. The research findings, which were published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, found that children overwhelmingly prioritized what they hear to determine their emotions instead of adults who prioritized what they hear.
The study, authored by Dr. Paddy Ross, is expected to offer new insights for better treatment and management of children with developmental challenges. The report will also be very helpful to professional educators because it will allow them to tailor their content and delivery channels to maximize the child’s intake of knowledge.
According to Dr. Paddy, this research will also help teachers and parents handle online learning. Using these findings, teachers will understand how children with developmental challenges like autism detect and understand emotions.
“Our study found that young children over-rely on what they hear to make judgments about the emotions of a situation. With so many children spending much more time at home currently, there is huge value in considering what they may hear and pick up on,” said Dr. Paddy.
This study was commissioned to test if the previously identified ‘Colavita effect’ held true for complex situations like how children recognize their emotions. The ‘Colavita effect’ suggested that human beings respond more to visual than auditory stimuli from eight years.
The experiment involved volunteers in three age categories seven and below, age eight to 11, and 18 and above. For visual stimuli, the children were shown pictures of humans, with faces blurred. Human voices were used for auditory stimuli. These stimuli conveyed various emotions like anger, sadness, fear, and happiness.
Volunteers were presented with various stimuli and asked to state the over-riding emotion they carry. Data collected showed that adults based their emotional assessment on what they could see when subjected to a combination of visual and auditory stimuli. On the other hand, children their assessment on what they could hear.
When presented with auditory and visual stimuli in isolation, all age groups scored more than 90%.