The physiological correlates of children’s emotions in contexts of moral transgression

Malti, Tina and Colasante, Tyler and Zuffianò, Antonio and de Bruine, Marieke (2016) The physiological correlates of children’s emotions in contexts of moral transgression. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 142. pp. 372-381. ISSN 00220965

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2015.09.017

Abstract

Heightened attention to sociomoral conflicts and arousal at the prospect of committing moral transgressions are thought to increase the likelihood of negatively valenced moral emotions (NVMEs; e.g., guilt) in children. Here, we tested this biphasic model of moral emotions with a psychophysiological framework. For a series of vignettes depicting moral transgressions, 5- and 8-year-olds (N=138) were asked to anticipate their emotions as hypothetical victimizers. Their responses were coded for the presence and intensity of NVMEs. In addition, their heart rate (HR) was calculated for three intervals of interest: a baseline period, the presentation of vignettes, and the anticipation of emotions following vignettes. We used multilevel modeling to examine how change in children's HR across these intervals related to the intensity of their NVMEs. Those who experienced greater HR deceleration from baseline to vignettes and greater acceleration from vignettes to anticipated emotions reported more intense NVMEs. We discuss the potential attention- and arousal-related processes behind children's physiological reactivity and anticipated emotions in contexts of moral transgression.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: “NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, [VOL 142, (February 2016)] DOI#10.1016/j.jecp.2015.09.017¨
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Antonio Zuffiano
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2016 08:22
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2017 00:09
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/982

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