Theses Doctoral

Metacognition of Emotion Recognition

Kelly, Karen Jeanne

Are people able to determine when they are correct or incorrect in their interpretation of another's emotional state? This question of whether or not individuals are capable of making accurate judgments about this ability was briefly explored in a handful of studies that concluded that individuals could not make such judgments. This finding did not seem to be consistent with our high-level social abilities. It is difficult to image that individuals are capable of fluently moving though social interactions, emotional exchanges, and interpersonal relationships absent any ability to determine if they are indeed correctly interpreting other's emotions. In an effort to revisit this question it was necessary to take a deeper look at the methodology used in the original studies. The procedure used to establish metacognitive accuracy, although not incorrect, was not the appropriate choice. Instead of relying on the global measures of metacognition that previous research used, we shifted the focus to relative measures of metacognition that allow individuals to make item-by-item decisions about their perceived accuracy on each stimulus. This methodology has been used in studies involving both static (posed facial expressions and cartoon images) and dynamic (body gait and verbal prosody) stimuli. In each experiment, for each type of stimulus, individuals are able to distinguish those items that they know from those that they do not know - demonstrating metacognition of emotion recognition. This knowledge is not limited to adults, but appears to be developing in the 3rd grade and fully developed by the 5th grade. These findings are discussed with respect to the importance of emotion recognition in social interactions, the variety of cues that might be useful during the process of emotion recognition, and cognitive development in general.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Metcalfe, Janet
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 7, 2013