skip to main content
Resource type Show Results with: Show Results with: Index

Children's Expression of Emotional Meaning in Music Through Expressive Body Movement

Boone, R. ; Cunningham, Joseph

Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 2001, Vol.25(1), pp.21-41 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

Full text available online

View all versions
Citations Cited by
  • Title:
    Children's Expression of Emotional Meaning in Music Through Expressive Body Movement
  • Author/Creator: Boone, R. ; Cunningham, Joseph
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: emotion ; encoding ; movement ; pre-school age children
  • Is Part Of: Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 2001, Vol.25(1), pp.21-41
  • Description: Recent research has demonstrated that preschool children can decode emotional meaning in expressive body movement; however, to date, no research has considered preschool children's ability to encode emotional meaning in this media. The current study investigated 4- (N = 23) and 5- (N = 24) year-old children's ability to encode the emotional meaning of an accompanying music segment by moving a teddy bear using previously modeled expressive movements to indicate one of four target emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, or fear). Adult judges visually categorized the silent videotaped expressive movement performances by children of both ages with greater than chance level accuracy. In addition, accuracy in categorizing the emotion being expressed varied as a function of age of child and emotion. A subsequent cue analysis revealed that children as young as 4 years old were systematically varying their expressive movements with respect to force, rotation, shifts in movement pattern, tempo, and upward movement in the process of emotional communication. The theoretical significance of such encoding ability is discussed with respect to children's nonverbal skills and the communication of emotion.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0191-5886 ; E-ISSN: 1573-3653 ; DOI: 10.1023/A:1006733123708