JOURNAL ARTICLE

Age differences in emotion recognition skills and the visual scanning of emotion faces

Susan Sullivan, Ted Ruffman, Sam B Hutton
Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 2007, 62 (1): P53-60
17284558
Research suggests that a person's emotion recognition declines with advancing years. We examined whether or not this age-related decline was attributable to a tendency to overlook emotion information in the eyes. In Experiment 1, younger adults were significantly better than older adults at inferring emotions from full faces and eyes, though not from mouths. Using an eye tracker in Experiment 2, we found young adults, in comparison with older adults, to have superior emotion recognition performance and to look proportionately more to eyes than mouths. However, although better emotion recognition performance was significantly correlated with more eye looking in younger adults, the same was not true in older adults. We discuss these results in terms of brain changes with age.

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