What Should Chris Say? The Ability of Children With Specific Language Impairment to Recognize the Need to Dissemble Emotions in Social Situations Purpose In this study, the authors examined the ability of children with specific language impairment (SLI) and their typical peers to judge when an experienced emotion should be dissembled (hidden) in accord with social display rules. Method Participants included 19 children with SLI and19 children with typical language ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2007
What Should Chris Say? The Ability of Children With Specific Language Impairment to Recognize the Need to Dissemble Emotions in Social Situations
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Bonnie Brinton
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Matthew P. Spackman
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Martin Fujiki
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Jenny Ricks
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Contact author: Bonnie Brinton, Brigham Young University, Graduate Studies, B-380 ASB, Provo, UT 84602-1341. E-mail: bonnie_brinton@byu.edu.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2007
What Should Chris Say? The Ability of Children With Specific Language Impairment to Recognize the Need to Dissemble Emotions in Social Situations
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2007, Vol. 50, 798-811. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/055)
History: Received January 27, 2006 , Revised May 5, 2006 , Accepted September 12, 2006
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2007, Vol. 50, 798-811. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/055)
History: Received January 27, 2006; Revised May 5, 2006; Accepted September 12, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 29

Purpose In this study, the authors examined the ability of children with specific language impairment (SLI) and their typical peers to judge when an experienced emotion should be dissembled (hidden) in accord with social display rules.

Method Participants included 19 children with SLI and19 children with typical language skills, both groups ranging in age from 7;9 (years;months) to 10;10, with a mean age of 9;1. Children were presented with 10 hypothetical social situations in which a character, Chris, experienced an emotion that should be dissembled for social purposes. The participants' responses were categorized as to whether or not they dissembled or displayed the emotion.

Results Although the task was difficult for many participants, children with SLI indicated that the experienced emotion should be dissembled significantly less often than did their typical peers. Children in the 2 groups did not significantly differ in their judgments of the social display rules governing these situations.

Conclusion These results suggested that the children with SLI did not understand the impact of displaying emotion on relationships in the same way as did their typical peers. In this respect, they seemed to lag behind the typical children in their developing emotion knowledge.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported, in part, by a research grant from the David O. McKay School of Education, Brigham Young University, and a David O. McKay Research Fellowship from Brigham Young University. We thank all of the speech-language pathologists and teachers who helped identify participants. We also thank Tori Illig, Traci Cox Huntington, Melanie Javid, and Kristin Atwood, who worked as research assistants on this project.
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