Interpersonal Emotion Regulation in Children: Age, Gender and Cross-cultural Differences using a Serious Game

Lopez-Perez, B. and Pacella, D (2019) Interpersonal Emotion Regulation in Children: Age, Gender and Cross-cultural Differences using a Serious Game. Emotion. ISSN 1528-3542 (Accepted for Publication)

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Interpersonal emotion regulation entails a wide array of strategies aimed at influencing others’ emotions. Despite its importance for successful social interactions, only a few studies have evaluated interpersonal emotion regulation in children. In detail, the study of developmental changes in the use of emotion regulation strategies overlooked age, gender and cultural differences across different emotions. To address this gap, the present study used the serious game Emodiscovery, a simulation game targeted at 8-10 year-olds, which measures the strategies selected by children to improve the emotions of anger, sadness, and fear displayed by 3D virtual characters. One-hundred British (M = 9.10 years; 39% girls) and 108 Spanish (M = 9.04, 44% girls) 8-10 year-olds played three different levels or scenarios of the game. In each level, the character displayed a negative emotion (i.e., sadness, anger, and fear, respectively) and children were first asked to indicate what emotion the character was feeling and afterwards to interact three times with the character to improve his/her mood. In each interaction, four possible regulation strategies (two adaptive and two maladaptive) were displayed for children to select. Results showed that in the scenario where the character was displaying sadness, 8-year-olds chose significantly less adaptive strategies than 10-years-olds. In the scenario where the character was angry, boys who accurately recognized the emotion of anger chose more adaptive strategies than those who did not recognize the emotion. For the scenario depicting fear, boys chose less adaptive strategies than girls. The obtained results highlight the importance of looking at specific emotions when researching interpersonal emotion regulation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is the author's version of an article that has been accepted for publication in the journal Emotion, published by APA. The final version will is available from:
Keywords: interpersonal emotion regulation; emotion recognition; serious game; children; culture; gender differences.
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Belen Lopez-Perez
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2019 10:39
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2020 10:02

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