- Development in children’s attribution of embarrassment and the relationship with theory of mind and shyness
- Cognition & Emotion
- Volume | Issue number
- 24 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
The present study examined the two-stage developmental theory of the understanding of embarrassment (Modigliani & Blumenfeld, 1979) through the administration of verbal and non-verbal measures. Moreover, the relationship between children’s attributions of embarrassment and their ability to understand false beliefs and propensity to be shy was investigated. Ninety-five children (4 to 9 years old) were presented with brief stories in which the main character received negative, neutral, or positive social reactions. Verbal and non-verbal attributions of embarrassment were examined. In addition, a false-belief task and a shyness-propensity questionnaire were administered. Using verbal measures, older children reported more embarrassment in the negative and neutral conditions compared to younger children. However, using non-verbal measures, these age differences disappeared. This suggests that young children may have a ‘mature’ understanding of embarrassment, but may not be able to express this linguistically. Verbal and non-verbal embarrassment attributions were not related to the understanding of false beliefs, but they were related to shyness propensity. The results are discussed in terms of socio-cognitive and emotional factors in understanding emotions.
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