Publication 6390

Hoemann K., Xu F. & Barrett L. (2019) Emotion words, emotion concepts, and emotional development in children: A constructionist hypothesis. Developmental Psychology 55: 1830–1849. Fulltext at
In this article, we integrate two constructionist approaches – the theory of constructed emotion and rational constructivism – to introduce several novel hypotheses for understanding emotional development. We first discuss the hypothesis that emotion categories are abstract and conceptual, whose instances share a goal-based function in a particular context but are highly variable in their affective, physical, and perceptual features. Next, we discuss the possibility that emotional development is the process of developing emotion concepts, and that emotion words may be a critical part of this process. We hypothesize that infants and children learn emotion categories the way they learn other abstract conceptual categories – by observing others use the same emotion word to label highly variable events. Finally, we hypothesize that emotional development can be understood as a concept construction problem: a child becomes capable of experiencing and perceiving emotion only when her brain develops the capacity to assemble ad hoc, situated emotion concepts for the purposes of guiding behavior and giving meaning to sensory inputs. Specifically, we offer a predictive processing account of emotional development.


The publication has not yet bookmarked in any reading list

You cannot bookmark this publication into a reading list because you are not member of any
Log in to create one.

There are currently no annotations

To add an annotation you need to log in first

Download statistics

Log in to view the download statistics for this publication
Export bibliographic details as: CF Format · APA · BibTex · EndNote · Harvard · MLA · Nature · RIS · Science