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Richard GonzalezRichard Gonzalez

Center Director, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research
Director, BioSocial Methods Collaborative, RCGD
Amos N Tversky Collegiate Professor, Psychology and Statistics, LSA
Professor of Marketing, Stephen M Ross School of Business
Professor of Integrative Systems and Design, College of Engineering


E-mail: Email Richard Gonzalez
Address: Research Center for Group Dynamics
Institute for Social Research
University of Michigan
426 Thompson Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106
Phone: 734-647-6785

Using the transition to siblinghood to understand the development of emotion understanding

Oct 6, 2023 | Announcements, Psychology

Tan, L., Volling, B. L., Gonzalez, R., & LaBounty, J. (2022). Growth in emotion understanding across early childhood: A cohort-sequential model of firstborn children across the transition to siblinghood. Child Development. doi:10.1111/cdev.13729 PDF


Emotion understanding develops rapidly in early childhood. Firstborn children (N = 231, 55% girls/45% boys, 86% White, 5% Black, 3% Asian, 4% Latinx, Mage = 29.92 months) were recruited into a longitudinal study from 2004 to 2008 in the United States and administered a series of tasks assessing eight components of young children’s emotion understanding from ages 1 to 5. Cohort sequential analysis across three cohorts (1-, 2-, and 3-year-olds) demonstrated a progression of children’s emotion understanding from basic emotion identification to an understanding of false-belief emotions, even after controlling for children’s verbal ability. Emotion understanding scores were related to children’s theory of mind and parent reports of empathy, but not emotional reactivity, providing evidence of both convergent and discriminant validity