Pride is elicited when a child takes credit for an achievement or exceeds a socially valued standard or expectation. Evidence suggests that pride has a distinct nonverbal expression that is recognized by adults across cultures (Tracy & Robins, 2004). Research examining when children recognize pride has yielded age discrepancies between studies that use forced-choice response formats and those that use spontaneous-response formats. Differences in children's ability to use and comprehend language may account for some of these differences. The purpose of this thesis was to examine the age at which children reliably recognize pride, while minimizing the need for children to rely on their linguistic or verbal abilities. The present experiment used an experimental approach to examine when children reliably recognize pride. One hundred forty-four children between the ages of 2.5- and 6.5-years participated in one of three experimental conditions: Exceed Standard, Fail Standard or No Standard. Frequency of pride recognition in the Exceed Standard condition was compared to frequencies of pride recognition in the Fail Standard and No Standard conditions. Results revealed a developmental progression of pride recognition in which children first begin showing nonverbal pride behaviors at about 2.5- to 3.5-years, acquire the ability to apply a label to the nonverbal pride expression between 3.5- and 4.5-years of age, and come to recognize their own emotional experience as pride in an achievement situation between 4.5- and 5.5-years of age.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





pride, emotion, self-conscious emotion, achievement, children, recognition, facial expressions, nonverbal expression, preschool, attribution, age differences

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Psychology Commons