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      Emotion displays in media: a comparison between American, Romanian, and Turkish children's storybooks

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          Children's books may provide an important resource of culturally appropriate emotions. This study investigates emotion displays in children's storybooks for preschoolers from Romania, Turkey, and the US in order to analyze cultural norms of emotions. We derived some hypotheses by referring to cross-cultural studies about emotion and emotion socialization. For such media analyses, the frequency rate of certain emotion displays can be seen as an indicator for the salience of the specific emotion. We expected that all children's storybooks would highlight dominantly positive emotions and that US children's storybooks would display negative powerful emotions (e.g., anger) more often and negative powerless emotions (e.g., sadness) less often than Turkish and Romanian storybooks. We also predicted that the positive and negative powerful emotion expressions would be more intense in the US storybooks compared to the other storybooks. Finally, we expected that social context (ingroup/outgroup) may affect the intensity emotion displays more in Turkish and Romanian storybooks compared to US storybooks. Illustrations in 30 popular children's storybooks (10 for each cultural group) were coded. Results mostly confirmed the hypotheses but also pointed to differences between Romanian and Turkish storybooks. Overall, the study supports the conclusion that culture-specific emotion norms are reflected in media to which young children are exposed.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Cultures and Selves: A Cycle of Mutual Constitution.

          The study of culture and self casts psychology's understanding of the self, identity, or agency as central to the analysis and interpretation of behavior and demonstrates that cultures and selves define and build upon each other in an ongoing cycle of mutual constitution. In a selective review of theoretical and empirical work, we define self and what the self does, define culture and how it constitutes the self (and vice versa), define independence and interdependence and determine how they shape psychological functioning, and examine the continuing challenges and controversies in the study of culture and self. We propose that a self is the "me" at the center of experience-a continually developing sense of awareness and agency that guides actions and takes shape as the individual, both brain and body, becomes attuned to various environments. Selves incorporate the patterning of their various environments and thus confer particular and culture-specific form and function to the psychological processes they organize (e.g., attention, perception, cognition, emotion, motivation, interpersonal relationship, group). In turn, as selves engage with their sociocultural contexts, they reinforce and sometimes change the ideas, practices, and institutions of these environments.
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            The authors hypothesized that whereas Japanese culture encourages socially engaging emotions (e.g., friendly feelings and guilt), North American culture fosters socially disengaging emotions (e.g., pride and anger). In two cross-cultural studies, the authors measured engaging and disengaging emotions repeatedly over different social situations and found support for this hypothesis. As predicted, Japanese showed a pervasive tendency to reportedly experience engaging emotions more strongly than they experienced disengaging emotions, but Americans showed a reversed tendency. Moreover, as also predicted, Japanese subjective well-being (i.e., the experience of general positive feelings) was more closely associated with the experience of engaging positive emotions than with that of disengaging emotions. Americans tended to show the reversed pattern. The established cultural differences in the patterns of emotion suggest the consistent and systematic cultural shaping of emotion over time.
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              Cultural pathways through universal development.

              We focus our review on three universal tasks of human development: relationship formation, knowledge acquisition, and the balance between autonomy and relatedness at adolescence. We present evidence that each task can be addressed through two deeply different cultural pathways through development: the pathways of independence and interdependence. Whereas core theories in developmental psychology are universalistic in their intentions, they in fact presuppose the independent pathway of development. Because the independent pathway is therefore well-known in psychology, we focus a large part of our review on empirically documenting the alternative, interdependent pathway for each developmental task. We also present three theoretical approaches to culture and development: the ecocultural, the sociohistorical, and the cultural values approach. We argue that an understanding of cultural pathways through human development requires all three approaches. We review evidence linking values (cultural values approach), ecological conditions (ecocultural approach), and socialization practices (sociohistorical approach) to cultural pathways through universal developmental tasks.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                17 June 2014
                : 5
                1Psychology, Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI, USA
                2Department of Educational Psychology, Texas A&M University College Station, TX, USA
                3Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University Cluj, Romania
                4Department of Psychology, Bogazici University Istanbul, Turkey
                Author notes

                Edited by: Carmel Houston-Price, University of Reading, UK

                Reviewed by: Klaus Libertus, University of Pittsburgh, USA; Susanne Ayers Denham, George Mason University, USA

                *Correspondence: Wolfgang Friedlmeier, Psychology Department, Grand Valley State University, 2138 Au Sable Hall, Allendale, MI 49401, USA e-mail: friedlmw@

                This article was submitted to Developmental Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

                Copyright © 2014 Wege, Sánchez González, Friedlmeier, Mihalca, Goodrich and Corapci.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 51, Pages: 12, Words: 10705
                Original Research Article


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