Preschool children's ability to identify and label emotions

Cynthia A. Stifter, Nathan A. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The present study examined preschoolers' and adults' ability to identify and label the emotions of happiness, sadness, and anger when presented through either the face channel alone, the voice channel alone, or the face and voice channels together. Subjects were also asked to rate the intensity of the expression. The results revealed that children aged 3 to 5 years are able to accurately identify and label emotions of happy, sad, and angry regardless of channel presentation. Similar results were obtained for the adult group. While younger children (33 to 53 months of age) were equally accurate in identifying the three emotions, older children (54 to 68 months of age) and adults made more incorrect responses when identifying expressions of sadness. Intensity ratings also differed according to the age of the subject and the emotion being rated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-266
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nonverbal Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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