Emotion socialization and mental health

Issues related to social functioning and inclusion are frequently noted in the literature with respect to deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) youth, which can affect the development of their emotional intelligence as well as their mental health. Within our lab multiple research projects are being conducted aimed at studying various aspects of social-emotional development, and involving different age groups. In multiple projects, we examine how emotional intelligence and socialization are related to mental health, cross-sectionally and longitudinally. These projects are conducted in close collaboration with and for DHH youth, researchers and stakeholders organizations.

Eye tracking in social situations

We don’t always do it consciously, but to successfully navigate social situations we are constantly on the lookout for clues - with all our senses. Importantly, previous experiences with social interactions affect which clues a person looks for, and how they then interpret these signals. For our project in Taiwan, we used eye-tracking techniques, which can give insight into what a participant is looking at and how they are reacting physiologically, by analyzing their pupils. We tracked and compared the gaze patterns and pupillary responses of 80 Taiwanese children (with and without hearing loss) while looking at pictures and videos of emotional faces and social situations. DHH children showed quite unique visual strategies to look for explicit visual cues (e.g., looking at body posture to infer others' emotional state), it appeared that it is crucial that children are frequently exposed to social environments where they could observe, experience and learn about emotions as they happened naturally.

People involved

Psychology, Leiden University - Yung-Ting Tsou, Carolien Rieffe, Evelien Broekhof, Adva Eichengreen, Boya Li, Mariska Kret.

Clinical and stakeholders organizations - Karin Wiefferink, Lizet Ketelaar, Evelien Dirks (NSDSK), Kentalis.

Hospitals - Johan Frijns (LUMC), Che-Ming Wu (ENT, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan).

Key publications


Projects were funded by KNAW, ZonMw, Taiwan Ministry of Education.