Doll play encourages children to talk about emotions – teenager

Children talk more about the thoughts and feelings of others, a term known as the Internal State Language (ISL), when playing with dolls than they do while playing with a tablet. Talking about the mood of others allows children to practice interpersonal skills to use when interacting with people in the real world, and this can potentially have beneficial effects on children’s overall emotional development. These are the results of a Barbie study and a team of neuroscientists from Cardiff University that emerged from a study on the effects of playing with dolls on children’s short- and long-term development. During the second year of the study, the researchers analyzed the importance of what children say while playing. They found that when playing alone with dolls, their speeches mainly encompass the thoughts and feelings of others.
“When children create imaginary worlds and role-playing with dolls, first communicating aloud and then internalizing the message of others’ thoughts, feelings, and emotions, “says Dr. Sarah Gerson, researcher.” This can have lasting positive effects on children, how to promote higher levels of social and emotional processing, as well as develop interpersonal skills, such as empathywhich can be internalized to give rise to and reinforce lifelong habits. When observing children (a panel of boys and girls aged 4 to 8), the researchers found an increase in activity in the brain region of the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) region when these children spoke as if their dolls had thoughts and emotions.the pSTS region plays a primary role in the development of social and emotional processing skills, and this further supports the the first year of the study, which means that even when children play with dolls alone, they can develop basic interpersonal skills. skills such as empathy.
The study used high-precision instrumentation for functional near-infrared spectroscopy to observe children’s brain activation when playing with dolls and a tablet, either alone or with another person. Researchers found that doll play stimulates ISL on others more prominently than tablet play, and that the use of ISL relative to others is associated with greater activation of pSTS. “ISL can indicate that a child is reasoning about other people’s thoughts and feelings while playing with dolls,” says Dr. Sarah Gerson, researcher. “These skills are extremely important for interacting with others, learning from others and dealing with a variety of relationship situations. It becomes crucial to making friends and maintaining them, as well as for the way children learn from teachers and parents.”
Parents place particular emphasis on empathy and social processing skills, skills that become increasingly important as children grow emotionally, didactically and socially. Over the past two years, parents and educators have shown greater concern for their children’s growth path. In fact, 61% of parents reported that their children’s socio-emotional development was negatively affected by the pandemic.
Although cognitive and social stimulation outside the home has been limited due to the pandemic, research from Cardiff University suggests that playing with dolls can give children the opportunity to emulate the scenes and interactions of everyday life. Children mimic what their parents, teachers, or peers say or do, and dolls offer them a tool to recreate what they see and hear, to practice skills for use in real-life relationship situations. The research also found that such evidence is gender-statistical, leading to emergence the global critical importance of playing with puppets to practice interpersonal skills.
“We are proud that children, when interpreting stories with Barbie and verbally expressing their thoughts and feelings, can build crucial relationship skills such as empathy, which give them the tools they need to become determined and inclusive adults.” , says Lisa McKnight, senior vice president. President and Global Head Barbie and Dolls, Mattel. The results of this second year of research, entitled Play with Dolls Stimulates Relational Reasoning and Language: Representation of Internal State Language in the Brain, were published in Developmental Science in 2021 by Dr. Sarah Gerson and her colleagues. from Cardiff University’s Center for Human Development Science, UK, as well as colleagues from Kings College London.

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