This kind of code-switching, or switching back and forth between different languages, happens all the time in multilingual environments, and often in emotional situations. In a new article in the July issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychological scientists Stephen Chen and Qing Zhou of the University of California, Berkeley and Morgan Kennedy of Bard College delve deeper into this linguistic phenomenon.
Drawing on research from psychology and linguistics, the researchers seek to better understand how using different languages to discuss and express emotions in a multilingual family might play an important role in children's emotional development. They propose that the particular language parents choose to use when discussing and expressing emotion can have significant impacts on children's emotional understanding, experience, and regulation.
"Over the past few years, there's been a steadily growing interest in the languages multilingual individuals use to express emotions," says Chen. "We were interested in the potential clinical and developmental implications of emotion-related language shifts, particularly within the context of the family."
Existing research from psychological science underscores the fact that language plays a key role in emotion because it allows the speakers to articulate, conceal, or discuss feelings. When parents verbally express their emotions, they contribute to their children's emotional development by providing them a model of how emotions can be articulated and regulated.
When parents discuss emotion, they help their children to accurately label and consequently understand their own emotions. This explicit instruction can further help children to better regulate their emotions.
Additionally, research from linguistics suggests that when bilingual individuals switch languages, the way they experience emotions changes as well. Bilingual parents may use a specific language to express an emotional concept because they feel that language provides a better cultural context for expressing the emotion. For example, a native Finnish speaker may be more likely to use English to tell her children that she loves them because it is uncommon to explicitly express emotions in Finnish.
Thus, the language that a parent chooses to express a particular concept can help to provide cues that reveal his or her emotional state. Language choice may also influence how children experience emotion, such expressions can potentially elicit a greater emotional response when spoken in the child's native language. Shifting from one language to another may help children to regulate their emotional response by using a less emotional, non-native language as a way to decrease negative arousal, or to help model culture specific emotional regulation.
Overall, the authors argue that research from psychological science and linguistics suggests that a child's emotional competence is fundamentally shaped by a multilingual environment. These findings may be particularly useful in the development of intervention programs for immigrant families, helping intervention staff to be aware of how the use of different languages in various contexts can have an emotional impact."Our aim in writing this review was to highlight what we see as a rich new area of cross-disciplinary research," says Chen. "We're especially excited to see how the implications of emotion-related language switching can be explored beyond the parent-child dyad – for example, in marital interactions, or in the context of therapy and other interventions."
Perspectives on Psychological Science
is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. It publishes an eclectic mix of thought-provoking articles on the latest important advances in psychology. For a copy of the article "Parents' Expression and Discussion of Emotion in the Multilingual Family: Does Language Matter?" and access to other Perspectives on Psychological Science research findings, please contact Anna Mikulak at 202-293-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-organising system enables motile cells to form complex search pattern
07.05.2019 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Mouse studies show minimally invasive route can accurately administer drugs to brain
02.05.2019 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
21.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
21.05.2019 | Earth Sciences
21.05.2019 | Life Sciences