Jan. 10, 2023

A new study published in Emotion by Professor Nook and colleagues at Yale University shows that affective language "spreads" between children and their parents. Children with anxiety disorders and their parents tried to solve challenging puzzles. Analyses of their transcripts showed that use of positive and negative affective language, as well as "linguistic distancing" (a marker of healthy emotion regulation) tended to jump from one person to the other. When one person used a negative word, the other was more likely to do so on their next turn. These findings extend prior research on linguistic markers of emotion into the realm of dynamic interpersonal conversations and might lead to linguistic measures of cooperation or conflict.