Socialisation and Ontogeny of Emotions in Cross-Cultural Perspective (215)

To what extent do cultural factors influence the transmission and acquisition of emotional knowledge, patterns of emotional behaviour and emotion regulation from birth to puberty?



The project is located at the interface of social anthropological and developmental psychological research. Within the framework of ethnographic field work in three different cultures the project analyzes from a comparative perspective

(1) how children learn to perceive initially unspecific affective arousal as certain forms of emotions and

(2) how they obtain the knowledge of expressing and regulating these different kinds of emotions.

(3) Furthermore, the project targets to grasp which explicit and implicit cultural techniques of transmission and which educational methods play a crucial role in this mutual relationship.

The cultures to be compared are the Minangkabau in West Sumatra (associated DFG project "Socialisation of Emotion in an Indonesian Society (Minangkabau)"), the Bara in Southern Madagascar and the Tao on the Taiwanese island of Lanyu. All three cultures belong to the West Austronesian language family. Due to considerable differences concerning their social structure, economy and religious orientation distinct processes of socialisation and their impact on the ontogeny of emotions are to be expected.

The empirical database will be collected within the framework of ethnographic field studies lasting from 14 to 16 months. Evaluation of the material will be carried out in cooperation with the developmental psychologist, Prof. Manfred Holodynski from the University of Münster.

The interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of human emotional development from the "culturally neutral" newborn to the cultural highly affected adult, is considered as a highly effective approach in enlightening the domain of the complex and dynamic interdependencies between bio-psychological maturation processes and socio-cultural parameters. Thus, the project makes an important contribution to the revision of developmental psychological assumptions of universal emotional development phases and mechanisms.

Information on our work among the Minangkabau

Information on our work among the Tao

Information on our work among the Bara