Schematic drawings of facial expressions for emotion recognition and interpretation by preschool-aged children

Genet Soc Gen Psychol Monogr. 1996 Nov;122(4):373-88.


Schematic drawings of facial expressions were evaluated as a possible assessment tool for research on emotion recognition and interpretation involving young children. A subset of Ekman and Friesen's (1976) Pictures of Facial Affect was used as the standard for comparison. Preschool children (N = 138) were shown drawing and photographs in two context conditions for six emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise). The overall correlation between accuracy for the photographs and drawings was .677. A significant difference was found for the stimulus condition (photographs vs. drawings) but not for the administration condition (label-based vs. context-based). Children were significantly more accurate in interpreting drawings than photographs and tended to be more accurate in identifying facial expressions in the label-based administration condition for both photographs and drawings than in the context-based administration condition.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cues
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Social Perception*