This reception study with 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade children, and adults examined cognitive and emotional responses to a theatre production of Crying to Laugh. In keeping with socialization theories, girls empathized with female characters more often than boys by thinking and feeling with protagonists in dramatized situations. Because older children are better able to infer characters' thoughts and to apply main ideas to themselves and society, they empathize more often than younger children and derive deeper emotional experiences when attending theatre.
This study received an Honorable Mention for the Research Award by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, August 1994.
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