Emotion Recognition: The Effects of Age on the Identification of Emotion from Facial and Body Expressions
Sarah Elizabeth Gibbon - Dissertation 2013.pdf (946.5Kb)
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Previous research has identified a well-replicated decline in the recognition of emotion in healthy adult ageing. Furthermore, research has shown that multiple sources of emotion al information can help to reduce the severity of this decline. This study investigated the effects of healthy adult ageing on the identification of emotion from various stimuli. Uniquely, the study investigated whether there were any age dependent effects of multiple sources of information from the face and the body. Participants’ performed three forced-choice emotion identification tasks, where they were presented with an emotion stimuli and asked to categorise it as expressing one of four basic emotions: anger, fear, happiness or sadness. The first task used FEEST stimuli and demonstrated that correct identification of emotions overall, and specifically anger, was lower in older adults than in younger adults. In the second tasks, BEAST stimuli were used as participants categorised body expressions of emotion and no age-related differences were found. In the final task, participants were instructed to categorise the facial expression in compound stimuli composed of facial and bodily expressions. The emotions expressed by the face/body were either congruent or incongruent. Congruency was associated with improved performance for both younger and older adults. Additionally, older adults were significantly influenced by the body expression in this task. Taken together, the findings illustrate the difficulties older adults face in emotion recognition over different modalities. However, the findings suggest that these difficulties are not as severe as previously thought, and can be improved by the addition of multiple, congruent sources of information.