Children's processing of emotions expressed by peers and adults

Author(s)
Stefanie Hoehl, Jens Brauer, Gabriele Brasse, Tricia Striano, Angela D Friederici
Abstract

The recognition of emotional expressions is an important skill and relates to social functioning and adjustment in childhood. The current functional MRI study investigated the neural processing of angry and happy facial expressions in 5- to 6-year-old children and in adults. Participants were presented happy and angry faces of adults and children while they performed a non-emotion-related task with low cognitive load. Very similar neural networks were involved in the processing of angry and happy faces in adults and children, including the amygdala and prefrontal areas. In general, children showed heightened amygdala activation in response to emotional faces relative to adults. While children showed stronger amygdala activation in response to angry adult compared to angry child faces, adults showed stronger amygdala activation for angry child faces. In both age groups enhanced amygdala involvement was found for happy peer faces relative to happy non-peer faces, though this effect was only a tendency in adults. The findings are discussed in the context of the development of the social brain network.

Organisation(s)
External organisation(s)
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften, City University of New York, Hunter College
Journal
Social Neuroscience
Volume
5
Pages
543-559
No. of pages
17
ISSN
1747-0919
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1080/17470911003708206
Publication date
2010
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
Developmental psychology
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/childrens-processing-of-emotions-expressed-by-peers-and-adults(a212faba-975b-4fd2-ba89-0daef2446e88).html