While a number of emotions are considered to be innate or present from a very early age, the way they are understood and displayed is determined by social and cultural as well as biological factors. Adults or "expert others" from the environment in which children live can facilitate young children's development of emotion understanding and display. Yet adults do not always recognise emotion and emotion display in children.This paper discusses a cross-cultural study of the emotion of fear. In Canada and in Australia caregivers were asked to name fears that preschool-aged children (3-5 year olds) experience, and to describe how these children show fear. While some differences were found in fears and fear displays, a much greater difference was found in their incidence. For example, 55 % of Canadian caregivers reported young children to have a fear of loud noises, whereas only 11 % of Australian caregivers reported this fear. Forty-five per cent of Canadian caregivers reported that children display fear through their body language, while only 10 % of Australian caregivers reported this fear display. Issues of similarity and difference in fear and fear display as reported by caregivers in both countries are examined and recommendations made for early childhood pedagogical practice.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/reesasorin/23/