This advice arrives just in time for those pre-holiday throw-downs in the toy aisle. Take heed, this knowledge might just make the wait in the line for Santa more bearable. Researcher Michael Poteg of the University of Minnesota doesn't merely possess the secret, he's got the whole tantrum thing covered or uncovered as he reported in an NPR interview:
We have the most quantitative theory of tantrums that has ever been developed in the history of humankind. NPR, What's Behind A Temper Tantrum? Scientists Deconstruct The Screams.He uttered "half in jest" according to NPR. Humor probably helped convince parents to suit up their children in wired onsies so Poteg and friends could track the anatomy of bad behavior and ultimately publish what might become the codex of temper tantrums.
Here's what this ground-breaking scientific inquiry revealed:
Results indicated that perceptually categorized screaming, yelling, crying, whining, and fussing each have distinct acoustic features. Screaming and yelling form a group with similar acoustic features while crying, whining, and fussing form a second acoustically related group. Within these groups, screaming may reflect a higher intensity of anger than yelling while fussing, whining, and crying may reflect an increasing intensity of sadness. Abstract from Psych InfoIn other words:
Yelling, Screaming, Kicking = Pissed
Fussing,Whining, Crying = Sad
Just what like your mother and grandmother told you. Wait out of the anger (see above). No sarcastic comments. No pleas for rational behavior. No questions. Do you want to ever watch SpongeBob again? Do you really want to miss the Smurfs? Do you think all these people appreciate you disrupting their dinner? After the anger (see above) subsides, try comforting to combat the sads (see above).
I guess the news coverage gets parents thinking about how and when to stem the bad behavior, not so awful. But honestly, just how much does a hi-fi onesie go for?
Reference: Screaming, yelling, whining, and crying: Categorical and intensity differences in vocal expressions of anger and sadness in children's tantrums. Green, James A.; Whitney, Pamela G.; Potegal, Michael. Emotion, Vol 11(5), Oct 2011, 1124-1133. doi: 10.1037/a0024173