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2006 | 15 | 125-138

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Verbal expressions of emotions are preceded in ontogenesis by nonverbal means, which serve for establishing contact with other people (Parkinson 1994; Dolinski 2000). Verbal means serve for: expressing attitudes, describing causes and effects, experiences, and for directly defining emotions. Mastering names of emotions enables differentiation of own experiences and communication about them with other people (Szuman 1968; Semin et al. 2002). The ability for verbal expression of emotions changes in ontogenesis (Bartsch & Wellman 1995; Bretherton, Beeghly 1982; Camaioni 1997; Dunn 1998; Kopeae 2000; Przetacznikowa 1967; Saarni 1988) The article presents results of research on 90 children (age 5, 7, 9), concerning the use of names of emotions in given communication situations and checking their understanding of chosen emotion names. There was a statistically significant correlation between understanding and using terms of emotions in communicative situations. In early childhood, there is a noticeable shift from the level of describing causes and symptoms of emotions, to the level of using names of emotions in accordance with their meaning. Frequency of use of names of emotions in communicative situations increases with age. Statistically significant quantitative changes concern both positive and negative emotions (with the exception of the name 'love'). Verbs are mainly used for describing emotions. Research has shown that cognitive representation of emotion functions on several levels (Karmiloff-Smith 1995) simultaneously: verbal and nonverbal, which indicates its exceptional complexity.


  • M. Kielar-Turska, Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Instytut Psychologii, ul. Golebia 13, 31-007 Krak√≥w, Poland


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