Age-related differences in the ability to perceive sad facial expressions

Sarah E. MacPherson, Louise H. Phillips, Sergio Della Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and aims: Research has shown that the ability to label negative emotions displayed by facial expressions declines with age. Such studies, however, have tended to adopt the Ekman and Friesen (1976) Caucasian faces as their emotional stimuli. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether the age differences in identifying negative emotions are also found using the more recent Japanese and Caucasian Facial Expressions of Emotion (JACFEE). Methods: In Experiment 1, 29 younger and 29 older individuals performed a verbal labeling emotion identification task (happy, sad, angry, frightened, disgusted, surprised, contemptuous). The ability to identify each emotion as a function of ethnicity across the age groups was examined. In order to reduce the verbal decision-making load on the task, a second experiment was conducted in which 60 younger and 60 older participants performed an emotion-matching task (sad, angry, contemptuous). Results: In Experiment 1, older adults showed a significant decrement in the ability to recognize sad faces compared with younger adults, but no age x face ethnicity interaction was found. In Experiment 2, age differences were found when making same/different judgments regarding two sad faces or a sad and a contemptuous face. Conclusions: Results suggest that aging has an impact upon perceiving sad facial expressions, that this effect is not mediated by own-race versus other-race faces, and that age effects are not attributable to differences in verbal decision-making. (c) 2006, Editrice Kurtis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-424
Number of pages7
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume18
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • aging
  • emotion
  • facial expressions of emotion
  • JACFEE
  • ADULT LIFE-SPAN
  • SOCIOEMOTIONAL SELECTIVITY
  • EMOTION RECOGNITION
  • ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE
  • BASIC EMOTIONS
  • FACE
  • DAMAGE
  • YOUNG

Cite this

Age-related differences in the ability to perceive sad facial expressions. / MacPherson, Sarah E.; Phillips, Louise H.; Della Sala, Sergio.

In: Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 18, 2006, p. 418-424.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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