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Enhancing social cognition by training children in emotion understanding: A primary school study

Veronica Ornaghi, Jens Brockmeier, Ilaria Grazzani


We investigated whether training school-age children in emotion understanding had a significant effect on their social cognition. Participants were 110 children (mean age=7years 3months) assigned to training and control conditions. Over a 2-month intervention program, after the reading of illustrated scenarios based on emotional scripts, the training group was engaged in conversations on emotion understanding, whereas the control group was simply asked to produce a drawing about the story. The training group outperformed the control group on emotion comprehension, theory of mind, and empathy, and the positive training outcomes for emotion understanding remained stable over 6months. Implications of the findings are discussed.
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