How does culture impact children’s understanding of emotions?

16th November 2021 : 17:00 - 18:15

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Dr Karine Porpino Viana & Professor Francisco Pons (University of Oslo)

Location: Zoom

Convener: Iram Siraj

Audience: Public


The way children understand emotions, both their own emotions and those of other people has been extensively studied during the last 35 years. Despite the large corpus of studies, we do not yet understand the impact of culture on children’s understanding of emotion even though culture clearly has an impact on the nature of children’s emotional experience. Indeed, the results of cross-cultural studies of children’s emotion understanding are inconclusive and methodologically limited. The main goals of this session are to discuss the impact of culture on the development of emotion understanding in children and so see how far is the impact of culture mediated or moderated by children’s gender and SES. To explore the role of culture on emotion understanding, we discuss also recent findings on parents’ and teachers’ beliefs about emotion across Latin, Germanic and Slavic cultures. Such discussion should contribute to the contemporary debate about the universal versus culturally specific nature of the development of emotion understanding in children. It should also facilitate the development of policies aimed at the integration of immigrants, and contribute to the development of culturally adapted preventive and intervention programs at the kindergarten and school.


About the speaker

Francisco Pons (Ph.D., University of Geneva) is Professor of developmental psychology at the Department of Psychology of the University of Oslo. Earlier, he has been working at the Universities of Geneva, Oxford, and Harvard. His current research interest covers the development of emotional competence in typical and non-typical children and adolescents (ASD, learning difficulties, abuse, etc.) from Western and Non-Western cultures (Quechua, Han, Fon, etc.) as well as the integration of developmental research and educational practices at kindergarten and school. He is the co-author with Paul Harris (Harvard University) of the Test of Emotion Comprehension (TEC). The TEC is used by numerous clinical, educational and research institutions and has been translated into more than 25 languages so far (

Karine Porpino Viana (Ph.D, University of Oslo) is a Postdoc researcher in developmental psychology at the Department of Psychology of the University of Oslo. Her current research interests covers the development of emotional competence in relation to parenting and educational practices in kindergartens and schools. She is also interest on the role of peer interaction for the child’s emotional and cognitive development.