Many different objects and situations can be classified as “disgusting” by adults, but do children think the same kinds of things are disgusting? The purpose of this study is to investigate children’s beliefs about what causes disgust and other emotions.
In this study, children (ages 4-9) participate in creating a story. We introduce a character and then ask children to make up a situation that makes the character feel a certain emotion (happy, angry, disgusted, “grossed out,” etc). For example, we may start a story about a boy named Davie. Then we’ll say, “Something happened to Davie that made him feel very grossed out. What happened that made Davie feel that way?” Children can invent any situation they want in order to finish the story.
We are interested in children’s descriptions of the situations that cause each type of emotion, and whether they make up different types of situations for similar emotions, like “disgusted,” “grossed out,” and “yucky.”
This research will help us understand how children learn about emotions and their causes, and when they start to differentiate between similar emotions.
Learn about other research related to Children's Understanding of Emotion.
This research is conducted by the Emotion Development Lab at Boston College