Infants' sensitivity to emotional expressions in actions: The contributions of parental expressivity and motor experience

Lisanne Schröer, Deniz Çetin, Stefania V. Vacaru, Margaret Addabbo, Johanna E. Van Schaik, Sabine Hunnius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Actions can convey information about the affective state of an actor. By the end of the first year, infants show sensitivity to such emotional information in actions. Here, we examined the mechanisms contributing to infants' developing sensitivity to emotional action kinematics. We hypothesized that this sensitivity might rely on two factors: a stable motor representation of the observed action to be able to detect deviations from how it would typically be performed and experience with emotional expressions. The sensitivity of 12-to 13-month-old infants to happy and angry emotional cues in a manual transport action was examined using facial EMG. Infants' own movements when performing an object transport task were assessed using optical motion capture. The infants' caregivers' emotional expressivity was measured using a questionnaire. Negative emotional expressivity of the primary caregiver was significantly related to infants' sensitivity to observed angry actions. There was no evidence for such an association with infants' own motor skill. Overall, our results show that infants' experience with emotions, measured as caregivers' emotional expressivity, may aid infants' discrimination of others' emotions expressed in action kinematics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101751-N/A
JournalINFANT BEHAVIOR & DEVELOPMENT
Volume68
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Actions
  • EMG
  • Emotion expression
  • Emotion perception
  • Kinematics
  • Motion capture

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Infants' sensitivity to emotional expressions in actions: The contributions of parental expressivity and motor experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this