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Title: Development of a novel EEG paradigm to investigate the neural correlates of children's emotion understanding
Author: Bennett, S. D.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Emotion understanding is a key foundation of social skills (e.g. Denham et al., 2003; Izard et al., 2001) and thus research into its determinants is a potentially important area for clinical and developmental psychology. This thesis investigates the development of emotion understanding in young children. Part one is a literature review of 23 papers examining the relationship between attachment and emotion understanding in children. A summary of the papers is presented, before reflections on the meaning of the results. Overall, secure attachment appears to be related to superior emotion understanding. However, larger, well-controlled studies are needed to better understand the association. Part two presents an empirical paper focused on the development of a novel Electroencephalogram (EEG) paradigm to investigate emotion understanding in 6-year-old children. The children tested formed part of a cohort of children who had taken part in a previous study, in which their attachment to their primary care-giver was profiled. The study is the first to demonstrate Event Related Potentials (ERPs) associated with emotion understanding in young children. Specifically, a Late Positive Potential (LPP) was found to be an index of emotion understanding. The paper investigates associations between ERPs and social competence measures, and with security of attachment. The empirical research was undertaken with Sarah Carman (Carman, 2013). Part three provides a critical appraisal of the research process. It considers difficulties encountered in producing externally valid research. Issues in the development of the EEG paradigm, methodological difficulties in ERP research, and measure selection are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available