Contributions of Negative Emotions and Private Speech to 48-Month-Olds’ Task Persistence

Open Access
Ramsook, Kizzann Ashana
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
August 24, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Pamela Marie Cole, Thesis Advisor
  • Karen Linn Bierman, Committee Member
  • Janet van Hell, Committee Member
  • preschoolers
  • speech
  • emotion
  • vygotsky
  • survival anlaysis
The thesis investigated the contributions of 48-month-olds’ negative emotion expressions and private speech utterances to task persistence. It was hypothesized that anger would predict greater persistence whereas sadness would predict less persistence, and that task-referencing private speech would predict greater persistence, whereas self-referencing or other forms would predict less persistence. Measures were derived from a laboratory observation eliciting children’s negative emotion, the Transparent Locked Box procedure (Goldsmith et al., 1995). Further, the thesis examined these questions using two methodological approaches, ANOVA models which collapsed across time, and a process-oriented approach, survival analysis. Relations were examined controlling for child gender and verbal intelligence. Results were somewhat consistent with hypotheses and revealed that anger predicted greater persistence, but sadness and private speech utterances were not associated with persistence. Further, an interaction between sad expressions and task-referencing statements emerged in ANOVA models, while an interaction between angry expressions and self-referencing private speech emerged for survival analysis. Interpretation of these findings was discussed.