Cognitive Science Lunchtime Talk - Mira Nencheva

Mar 31, 2022, 12:00 pm1:00 pm
Peretsman Scully Hall - Room 101
Event Description

Abstract:  Emotions are not isolated events -- one’s current state depends on how preceding states unfold over time. Adult’s emotion dynamics follow predictable patterns, determined in part by valence -- positive emotions more often follow positive rather than negative emotions (Thornton & Tamir 2017;2020). Do children follow a similar pattern, or do they converge onto this organized pattern of emotional experiences over time? If the latter is true, what allows them to do so? In four studies, we characterized the developmental changes in the organization of young children’s emotional experiences. We found that over the first five years, children’s emotional experiences undergo a developmental change in organization. With age, children became increasingly likely to transition between similarly-valenced emotions and less likely to transition between differently-valenced emotions. Next, we examined the links between changes in emotion dynamics and other developmental processes, specifically, the duration of children’s emotional experiences and their language development. With this project, we hope to call more attention to the importance of examining the dynamics of emotional experiences across development, as well as the complex ways in which different cognitive systems interact to shape development.