The authors would like to extend their appreciation to Principal Nancy Hill at Cleveland Elementary School for allowing children to be tested at her school. The authors also would like to thank Diana MacDonald and Kim Martinson for serving as experimenters; Wendy Carey, Michelle Regan, and Ronit Schvarz for coding the videotaped facial expressions; and Heather Davis for assisting with data entry.
Children's Cognitive and Emotional Responses to the Portrayal of Negative Emotions in Family-Formatted Situation Comedies
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2006
Human Communication Research
Volume 24, Issue 4, pages 584–609, June 1998
How to Cite
WEISS, A. J. and WILSON, B. J. (1998), Children's Cognitive and Emotional Responses to the Portrayal of Negative Emotions in Family-Formatted Situation Comedies. Human Communication Research, 24: 584–609. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1998.tb00432.x
- Issue published online: 17 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 17 MAR 2006
This experiment assesses children's cognitive and emotional responses to negative emotions in family-formatted situation comedies. Boys and girls from two grade levels (Grades K-2 vs. Grades 3–5) viewed a family sitcom that featured one of two negative emotions (anger, fear) and varied the inclusion of a positive, humorous subplot (no, yes). Results revealed that inclusion of the subplot reduced comprehension of the major story line for younger children as well as for boys. Among all children, the presence of the positive subplot also distorted perceptions of how negative and persistent the main character's emotions were, finally, children who perceived the family sitcom to be highly realistic were more concerned about similar negative emotional events in their own lives than were those whoperceived theprogram to be less realistic. The findings are discussed in terms of children's social learning from television and emotional development.