The Impact of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease on Decoding Emotion Cues from Bodily Motion

Pauline Margaret Insch, Gillian Slessor, Louise Helen Phillips, Anthony Atkinson, Jill Warrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Both healthy aging and dementia cause problems with emotion perception, and the
impairment is generally greater for specific emotions (anger, sadness and fear). Most studies to date
have focused on static facial photographs of emotions. The current study investigated the effects of
healthy aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) on the ability to decode emotions from bodily motion
displayed by point light stimuli. Response biases were controlled to investigate whether these
influenced the specificity of impairment in perceiving individual emotions. Study 1 compared
healthy young and older adults, and Study 2 people with AD and age-matched controls, on an
emotion perception task using point light stimuli. Accuracy and the pattern of errors were
investigated. Specific age-related impairments were found in labeling sadness, anger and fear from
point light displays. Response biases were also found, and controlling for these biases indicated that
older adults were worse at labeling all emotions. People with AD were less accurate than healthy
older controls at labeling fear, anger and sadness. After controlling for response biases, AD caused
impairment in perceiving all emotions. These results indicate a general age-related impairment in
decoding emotions from bodily motion, and a further impairment in this skill in AD. Apparent
specificity of deficits in emotion labeling tasks needs to be interpreted cautiously, and correction for
response bias should be considered. Problems perceiving emotion cues from biological motion might
impair social interaction in older adults, particularly those with dementia
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalAIMS Neuroscience
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Cues
Alzheimer Disease
Emotions
Anger
Fear
Light
Dementia
Aptitude
Interpersonal Relations
Young Adult

Keywords

  • older adults
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • dementia
  • emotions
  • social perception
  • biological motion
  • motion perception
  • response bias

Cite this

The Impact of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease on Decoding Emotion Cues from Bodily Motion. / Insch, Pauline Margaret; Slessor, Gillian; Phillips, Louise Helen; Atkinson, Anthony; Warrington, Jill.

In: AIMS Neuroscience, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2015, p. 139-152.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Insch, Pauline Margaret ; Slessor, Gillian ; Phillips, Louise Helen ; Atkinson, Anthony ; Warrington, Jill. / The Impact of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease on Decoding Emotion Cues from Bodily Motion. In: AIMS Neuroscience. 2015 ; Vol. 2, No. 3. pp. 139-152.
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