Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Emotion Displays in Hispanic- and Euro-American Children's Books




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Beside parents as socialization agents, children books may provide an important resource of culturally appropriate emotions. Tsai et al. (2007) demonstrated that the desired positive affective state varied between Taiwanese Chinese and European Americans, and this difference was also reflected in children's books. This study aims to expand the study by Tsai et al. (2007) in three ways: Positive and negative emotions are included, facial and posture features are analyzed, and focus is made on the comparison between Caucasian and Hispanic-American children's books. Caucasians favor an individualistic emotion model, i.e., expressing emotion in a more open way, whereas Hispanics may favor a relational emotion model, i.e., expecting more moderate expressions (Friedlmeier, Corapci, & Cole, 2011). Matsumoto (1993) found that Caucasians compared to Hispanics were more willing to express disgust and fear but no differences in positive emotions. Therefore, we expect that Caucasian books portray a greater variety of emotions and that Caucasian books also display negative expressions more openly than Hispanic children books. A content analysis was performed on illustrations in 10 popular Euro-American and 10 popular Hispanic children's books to determine facial expressions and body posture. The illustrations were coded according to the action units (Ekman & Friesen, 1975) and posture criteria (Kudoh & Matsumoto, 1985). Two independent coders coded the books and interrater agreement was satisfactory. The results partly confirmed the ethnic emotion models mentioned above as powerful negative emotions were expressed more often in Euro-American books.

Conference Name

24th APS Annual Convention

Conference Location

Chicago, IL

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