CAA: Socialization of Children's Emotion in Rural Nepali Villages

Project: Research project

Project Details


Emotions, such as joy and anger, are basic abilities that allow people to respond to situations. Such emotions are seen and recognized by all peoples of the world but the meaning of an emotion, and the rules of how and when an emotion should be communicated, vary across cultures. Early childhood is a time when there are many emotional experiences. When those caring for children respond to an emotional young child, the child receives implicit messages about the emotional significance of the situation and the manner in which emotion should be communicated and acted upon. In this way, culture influences emotional development. This project extends the PI's work on emotional development into the area of cultural variations in the socialization of emotion. The cultural settings are remote villages of Nepal, which represent cultures that are distinctly different from Western societies in which most research on emotional development is conducted. These villages can be characterized as `collectivist` societies in which the people regard themselves more in terms of their relations to others than in terms of their individuality and independence. The residents of the two villages also differ in distinct ways that have considerable impact on social behavior. One, a Chhetri-Brahmin village, is a high-caste Hindu community that is organized around a strict social hierarchy and a high level of awareness about one's self and social behavior. The other, a Tamang village, is a Tibetan Buddhist community that is organized around principles of social equality and inner quietude. The study predicts that each group's beliefs about proper social behavior are associated with different socialization practices that influence children's emotional development and the ideas children develop about emotion expression and its regulation. The project involves the direct observation of the social interactions between caregivers and young children (ages 3 to 5 years) when the children are expressing emotion. Also included are interviews with caregivers and school age children about the social rules of emotion expression. These data will provide some of the first empirical observations on the socialization of emotion in rural Asia and on cultural variations in these processes. By studying cultural variation, it is possible to learn what is universal and what is culturally variable about development.

Effective start/end date8/1/977/31/99


  • National Science Foundation: $52,846.00


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