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Emotion word comprehension in children aged 4–7 years

  • Christelle Declercq (a1), Pauline Marlé (a1) and Régis Pochon (a1)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


Despite its importance for furthering social relationships, the development of the emotional lexicon has seldom been studied. Recent research suggests that during childhood, emotion words are acquired less rapidly than concrete words, but more rapidly than abstract words. The present study directly compared the comprehension of emotion words with the comprehension of concrete and abstract words in children aged 4–7 years. Children were shown 48 sets of four pictures and for each set had to point to the picture corresponding to a word that had just been pronounced. Words referred to concrete (16), abstract (16), or emotional (16) concepts. Results showed that concrete words were better understood than either emotion or abstract words, and emotion words were better understood than abstract ones. This finding emphasises the importance of the emotional lexicon in lexical development, and suggests that emotion word comprehension should be enhanced through regular training. This would increase children’s emotional knowledge, improve their communication skills, and promote their socialisation.


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Author for correspondence: Christelle Declercq, Email:


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Emotion word comprehension in children aged 4–7 years

  • Christelle Declercq (a1), Pauline Marlé (a1) and Régis Pochon (a1)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


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