Measuring Children’s Emotion Knowledge: Steps Toward an Anti-Racist Approach to Early Childhood Assessments

Dimitra Kamboukos, Alexandra Ursache, Sabrina Cheng, Vanessa Rodriguez, Gena Gelb, R. Gabriela Barajas-Gonzalez, Spring Dawson-McClure, Laurie M. Brotman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emotion knowledge (EK) is a malleable set of skills that is central to social interactions and school success during early childhood. The current study describes an anti-racist approach to adapting an EK measure that assesses knowledge of facial expressions to be ecologically valid for young children of color attending pre-Kindergarten (pre-K) programs in a large urban school district. This approach involved (1) attending to race/ethnicity in selection of visual stimuli, (2) ensuring appropriate translation and language for administration, and (3) exploring the functioning of the measure within a racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse group of children. A total of 235 children (67.4% Latinx, 14.1% non-Latinx Black, 7.1% non-Latinx White, 7.8% Asian, 3.6% another racial/ethnicity) were assessed in English (74%) or Spanish (26%) during the fall of pre-K (mean age = 4.4). Both English and Spanish versions appear to have similar reliability, although accuracy levels were lower when administered in Spanish. No differences in mean accuracy scores were found across racial/ethnic groups or for boys versus girls. This study contributes to the growing literature necessary to advance anti-racist research in affective science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalAffective Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Anti-racist approach
  • Emotion knowledge
  • Pre-Kindergarten
  • Race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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