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Social perception and aging: The relationship between aging and the perception of subtle changes in facial happiness and identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tao Yang, Tegan Penton, Şerife Leman Köybaşı, Michael J. Banissy

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalActa Psychologica
Volume179
Early online date8 Jul 2017
DOIs
Accepted/In press24 Jun 2017
E-pub ahead of print8 Jul 2017

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Abstract

Previous findings suggest that older adults show impairments in the social perception of faces, including the perception of emotion and facial identity. The majority of this work has tended to examine performance on tasks involving young adult faces and prototypical emotions. While useful, this can influence performance differences between groups due to perceptual biases and limitations on task performance. Here we sought to examine how typical aging is associated with the perception of subtle changes in facial happiness and facial identity in older adult faces. We developed novel tasks that permitted the ability to assess facial happiness, facial identity, and non-social perception (object perception) across similar task parameters. We observe that aging is linked with declines in the ability to make fine-grained judgements in the perception of facial happiness and facial identity (from older adult faces), but not for non-social (object) perception. This pattern of results is discussed in relation to mechanisms that may contribute to declines in facial perceptual processing in older adulthood.

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