Moving beyond basic emotions in aging research

Louise H. Phillips, Gillian Slessor

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


There is consistent evidence that older adults have difficulties in perceiving emotions. However, emotion perception measures to date have focused on one particular type of assessment: using standard photographs of facial expressions posing six basic emotions. We argue that it is important in future research to explore adult age differences in understanding more complex, social and blended emotions. Using stimuli which are dynamic records of the emotions expressed by people of all ages, and the use of genuine rather than posed emotions, would also improve the ecological validity of future research into age differences in emotion perception. Important questions remain about possible links between difficulties in perceiving emotional signals and the implications that this has for the everyday interpersonal functioning of older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-286
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nonverbal Behavior
Issue number4
Early online date24 Jul 2011
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • adult aging
  • emotion perception
  • ecological validity
  • interpersonal functioning
  • age-related differences
  • older-adults
  • recognition
  • young
  • perception
  • expression
  • memory
  • faces
  • smiles
  • tasks


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