Children’s and Adults’ Understanding of Faux Pas and Insults

  •  Rae Anne Pearson    
  •  Bradford Pillow    


We examined 7- to 11-year-old children’s and adults’ social understanding by presenting stories containing either a verbal faux pas or a deliberate insult. Participants were asked about the speaker’s knowledge, intent, and affect, and about the listener’s perception of the speaker’s intent, and the listener’s affect before and after the speaker apologized. Nine-year-olds, 11-year-olds, and adults recognized that the speaker’s knowledge or ignorance, but younger children did not. All age groups judged that the speaker did not intend harm and that the listener would not perceive the listener as intending harm. Nine-year-olds, 11-year-olds, and adults rated the speaker as feeling worse in faux pas stories than in insult stories, but younger children did not. All age groups rated the listener as feeling worse in insult stories than in faux pas stories. Children judged that an apology would improve the listener’s feelings more than adults did.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0526
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0534
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

Journal Metrics

(The data was calculated based on Google Scholar Citations)

1. Google-based Impact Factor (2021): 1.11
2. h-index (December 2021): 29
3. i10-index (December 2021): 87
4. h5-index (December 2021): N/A
5. h5-median (December 2021): N/A