The factors effecting children’s use of display rule
5: Human Development Assignments
Due date: Monday, August 24 by 8.00am (Online in Turnitin as a Word document)
Length: 800 words (Please see policies on Late Submission and Exceeding Word Limits
Due date: Monday, September 28 by 8.00am (Online in Turnitin as a Word document)
Length: 1200 words (Please see policies on Late Submission and Exceeding Word Limits
Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
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Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
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Human Development: Children’s Use of Display Rules
Gnepp, J. & Hess, D. L.R. (1986). Children’s understanding of verbal and facial display rules.
Developmental Psychology, 22, 103-108.
Two important skills developed in undergraduate psychology courses are essay writing and research
Assignment 1 addresses the first of these skills – constructing an argumentative essay. Your essay
will constitute the Introduction section of an empirical research (lab) report.
Assignment 2 addresses the latter of these abilities. It involves you reporting and discussing some
descriptive data analyses to test predictions about children’s understanding of emotional display
rules. You will be required to make three predictions and present data summaries relevant to these
predictions, interpret the patterns in your data summaries, and then draw conclusions about the three
predictions. These will form the Results and Discussion sections of the empirical research (lab)
In addition, in order for you to benefit from the feedback you received from Assignment 1, you will
be asked to resubmit a revised version of your Introduction section with Assignment 2.
You will be provided with the Method section.
Use the following research questions to formulate three predictions concerning children’s use of
emotional display rules.
(i) Do children distinguish when it is culturally appropriate to regulate their emotional
(ii) Are older children more likely to use cultural display rules than younger children?
(iii) Is gender a factor influencing the incidence of children’s use of display rules?
Below is a summary of the background for your assignments and a description of the methods.
FACTORS IN CHILDREN’S USE OF CULTURAL DISPLAY RULES.
The study is a partial replication of Gnepp and Hess (1986). Summary points from Gnepp and Hess
? Emotional expressions, both facial and verbal, communicate emotional experience.
? Emotional expression is sometimes automatic and sometimes under voluntary control.
? Control of emotional expression can serve prosocial or self-protective purposes.
? “Cultural display rules are social conventions shared by members of a particular social class,
subculture or culture.” (p.103)
? Children recognize that emotional expressions can be voluntarily controlled. Studies such as
those by Harris, Olthof, and Terwogt (1981) and Saarni (1979) have reported features of
children’s knowledge of display rules.
? Understanding emotional display rules requires knowing both how and when to control, suppress
or mask emotions.
In addition, Gnepp and Hess (1986) found no evidence that gender was associated with display rule use.
After a Title Page (including the word count), your Introduction should comprise the following
1. Introductory Sentences and Definitions
a. A clear definition provided for the term ‘Display Rule’.
b. A description of the control of emotional expressions.
c. An outline of the research problem.
d. Why this is an important area to investigate?
2. Review of Previous Research Findings
a. Cited research findings should be relevant to the study.
b. Research described clearly and precisely.
c. Critically review previous literature to lead to the current research focus.
d. Arguments lead to the aims/hypotheses.
3. Aims & Hypotheses
a. Aim of the study clearly stated.
b. Arguments lead to a concise statement of the hypotheses.
c. Hypothesis written in the appropriate manner. (i.e., stating expected outcomes).
List all References actually cited and only these. Make sure you use appropriate referencing format
throughout your assignment.
? In 2013 students from the first year Psychology class interviewed 700 children between ages of 5
and 14 years.
? 375 girls – mean age 10 years 8 months.
? 325 boys – mean age 10 years 11 months.
? Students interviewed a child within specified age range who was known to them or their family.
? Four stories constructed to represent – prosocial alone, prosocial audience, self-protective alone,
self-protective audience conditions, based on Gnepp and Hess’s (1986) research (details of stories
? Stories on interview form adjusted by interviewer to match gender of interviewee.
? Children asked what face they would have and what they would say. Follow up question asked
child to explain why (facial emotion sheet and interview questions in Appendix).
? Permission and consent for participation sought from parent and consent from child.
? Interview conducted in quiet room away from distractions.
? Child’s responses recorded verbatim on the interview form.
? Responses coded by groups of student interviewers using criteria developed by Gnepp and Hess
(1986). Unanimity required for classification of answer as display rule, unregulated emotional
expression, or other
? Coded responses collated from all interviewers.
In this section present your analysis of the data set. The main purpose here is to communicate a summary
of your data highlighting the important patterns you have observed that relate to the hypotheses you set
out to test. For each prediction:
? state what analysis has been performed and what findings are being presented to introduce the
figures that display and summarize your results.
For this exercise figures are the most appropriate way to summarize your findings. A well-designed
figure has immediate impact and highlights the pattern in the responses that you wish to communicate to
? Each figure should be clearly labelled and should be followed by a comment which draws the
reader’s attention to the basic patterns in the display. Check one of the guides to writing
laboratory reports for the conventions of presentation of tables and figures.
Note: This section is a summary of the results and is not the place to interpret your results.
This section should cover the following:
(i) Whether each prediction was supported.
(ii) The relationship of your findings to those reported in previous research (see Gnepp & Hess, 1986
(iii) Interpretation of your findings, conclusions and their implications. Consider here both theoretical
issues (issues to do with the basic concepts and theory being tested – e.g., is there evidence that
children use display rules?) and methodological issues (issues to do with the particular sample of
participants, materials and methods employed). It is important here to justify your arguments. If
raising a problem with a specific concept, theory, or a methodological flaw, explain how this
might account for the pattern of results you found.
(iv) Were there any important differences between your findings and those of Gnepp and Hess
(v) Suggestions for further research to extend these findings.
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