Emotional attribution, explanation and coping devices in situations of envy in Zapotec and Spanish children. Laura Quintanilla & Encarnación Sarriá. Facultad de Psicología, UNED.
Envy • Definition: “spite and resentment at seeing the success of another” or “happiness for misfortune of another” • […] implies a pattern of behaviors produced by the loss of the own prestige, compared with someone else’s success (Dogan y Vechio, 2001) • It involves a moral conception. • It has not been studied by developmental psychologist.
Aims • To explore the influence of culture (Zapotec & Spanish) in development of emotional comprehension within envy context. • To explore the emotional attributions within a basic envy context and the type of explanations children provide. • To explore the relation between emotional attribution, explanations and coping strategies in envy contexts.
Cultural meanings of envy: • Different meanings among cultures. Meaning relies on world conception, and cultural practices about the goods. • However, envy is considered universal. It exists in all cultures. • Mesoamerican people consider envy as a “Threat” –Zapotec people-. (Foster, 1972) • For Western people envy means “Pride”.
Developmental psychology setting: • Envy is considered a non-basic emotion. It is a self-consciousness emotion. • Envy doesn’t have a body expression, so in order to understand it would require some knowledge about Other-Self. • Envy requires mental understanding and inferences about desires of another.
Triadic relation in envy context I want to have it
Mental & Emotional understanding • Using basic mental and emotional terms could be productive to explore the comprehension of an envy situation. • Envy and jealousy terms are used indistinctly through many languages. But they have distinguished among scholars. • Envy concept relies on basic mental and emotional terms that children understand and use even before they use the complex envy term. • Using terms like think, want, desire, etc., could explore whether they understand or not the envy situation (Wierzbicka, 1999).
Emotional comprehension: cross-cultural evidence. • Mental concepts (Think, Know, Desire, etc.) are understood by children in different cultures, since early ages in development. • But the emotional comprehension is different depending on the cultural setting. Explaining and appraising the situation could be different between cultural groups. (Cole, Brushi & Tamang, 2001; Lillard, et al., 2007; Mesquita y Walker, 2000) • The coping devices in emotional situations are dependent on cultural rules (Cole et al., 2001).
Hypothesis • Emotional attribution could be similar between cultural groups in envy context. • Explanation about emotional attributions could be different. • Coping devices could be different among cultural groups.
Method • Participants: • 82 children (37 Zapotec & 45 Spanish) • 27, three years old (36-47 months) • 28, four years old (48 -59 months) • 27, five years old (60-72 months) • Populations • Ocotlán de Morelos, Oaxaca, México • El Carpio de Tajo, Toledo, Spain. populations.ppt
Procedure (Backpack Task) • How does Sara feel? • And Theresa, how does she feel? • How does Sara feel, now? • And Theresa, when she sees Sara’s backpack is broken, how does she feel?
Camera Task. • Then Maria finds a piece of plastic and she pretends that it is a camera. She pretends she is taking photos. Marta is watching what Maria is doing. She wants the camera too. But, Maria will not let Marta have it. Now, can you tell me, 1) How does Maria feel? 2) And Marta, how does she feel?Why do they feel X? Maria and Marta go out to the playground and they find a lot of things. But all of the things are broken. So, they don’t have anything to play with. Maria comes back and sees that Marta has the camera. 3) How does Maria feel? 4. And Marta, how does she feel? Now we should finish the story, 5) what will Maria do to feel happy again? Maria goes out and leaves the camera on the playground. Then Marta takes it and pretends she is taking photos.
Categories for justifications: • Irrelevant.- They don’t respond. “I don’t know” • Bad-Egocentric: Children respond that Theresa feels sad because her situation has not changed. • Bad-Empathic: Children respond that Theresa feels sad because of Sara’s backpack • Good- Non emphatic: Children respond that Theresa feels happy because of Sara’s backpack.
Summary of Results • Children from both cultures understand that another person can be happy when witnessing the misfortune of another. • The findings show there are differences between cultures. Particularly, 3 year-old Zapotec children compared with the Spanish children, show differences in performance about emotion attribution and in explaining their responses.
Analysis of Response Patterns • Response patterns for the emotional questions. • Response patterns for the justification questions.
Critical questions for emotions • How does Maria feel? • And Marta, how does she feel? 1. Good 2. Bad. 3. Bad. 4. Good. (GBBG) Or Other Patterns. (OP) • 3. How does Maria feel now? • And Marta, how does she feel?
Critical questions for emotions Why do they feel X? • What will Maria do to feel happy again?
EXPLANATIONS Irrelevant. Possession of object. “She has the camera” Possession & Intentions: “She has the camera and doesn’t want to lend it” SOLUTION’S STRATEGIES Irrelevant Maria recovers the camera. Maria shares it. Distract strategy. Categories of responses
Explanations about emotional attribution. Camera Task. Spanish Zapotec
Discussion & Conclusions • Both cultural groups understand the basic elements of envy. They attribute happiness for the misfortune of another. • However, Spanish children explain the emotions considering another’s situation and their intentions since three years old. Zapotec children don’t explain their responses until they are four years old. • We could say that the rhythm of development about this comprehension is not similar in both groups.
Discussion & Conclusions • It is possible that the pattern of socialization is different between the cultures. • Spanish parents use distractive strategies when their children are struggling for an object. • Spanish parents use to say their children “you should share the things or your toys”. • Although the Zapotec children share their toys during break time in the school, as we have been witness, they aren’t able to say explicitly those rules. • However, saying and knowing explicitly those rules do not mean that they use them when they are interacting with other.
Many Thanks… • Thanks a lot to the children, parents, teachers from both Atlantic sides. We are grateful for their collaboration. • Thanks to the Caledonian Glasgow University, where the first author spent a fruitful time doing these paper. • Part of this study has been supported by the Ministry of Education and Science (SEJ2006-07491) in Spain.