Age-related changes in detecting happiness: discriminating between enjoyment and nonenjoyment smiles

Gillian Slessor, Lynden K Miles, Rebecca Bull, Louise H Phillips
Psychology and Aging 2010, 25 (1): 246-50
The present study investigated age-related changes in the ability to discriminate between distinctions in the emotion underlying enjoyment and nonenjoyment smiles, both when making explicit decisions about feelings of happiness and when making social judgments of approachability. No age differences were found in the ability to discriminate between these two types of smile. However, older adults demonstrated a greater bias toward reporting that any smiling individual was feeling happy. Older adults were also more likely to choose to approach an individual who was displaying a nonenjoyment smile. Implications of these findings for older adults' interpersonal functioning are discussed.

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