>At about the age of three children first learn to recognise emotion in voices.

>Graphical emoticons range from basic to highly...Image via Wikipedia

Play a tape recording, in a language that the child does not know and the child, if capable, can read the emotion from the sound of the voice.

Short messages are read in a happy or a sad voice.

On the table are two large smiley faces, except one is a sad face.

As the child recognises the emotion they point to the card they think is appropriate.

Before they are capable they point at random between the sad and the smiley face.

As they get to hear the differences they put these differences to the right face, sad to sad, happy to happy.

There is a twist. Some children hear the sad voice and point to the happy face using the happy card to cover the sad card. One explained the need to not show sadness but to cover it the minute it starts.

Could it be true that those crossover moments are the causes of many a misunderstanding? Could it be that these moments are unknowns – areas of uncertainty? Could it be that at these times we turn to all those possible faces we have seen in other situations and try to find one that allows the crossover? Could it be that we take many of these moments from the actors we see on television – these moments being the sort of moment that make acting the skill that it is and which many programs focus on for this very reason?

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