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Exploring emotional expression recognition in aging adults using the Moving Window Technique
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
2018 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 13, no 10, article id e0205341Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Adult aging is associated with difficulties in recognizing negative facial expressions such as fear and anger. However, happiness and disgust recognition is generally found to be less affected. Eye-tracking studies indicate that the diagnostic features of fearful and angry faces are situated in the upper regions of the face (the eyes), and for happy and disgusted faces in the lower regions (nose and mouth). These studies also indicate age-differences in visual scanning behavior, suggesting a role for attention in emotion recognition deficits in older adults. However, because facial features can be processed extrafoveally, and expression recognition occurs rapidly, eye-tracking has been questioned as a measure of attention during emotion recognition. In this study, the Moving Window Technique (MWT) was used as an alternative to the conventional eye-tracking technology. By restricting the visual field to a moveable window, this technique provides a more direct measure of attention. We found a strong bias to explore the mouth across both age groups. Relative to young adults, older adults focused less on the left eye, and marginally more on the mouth and nose. Despite these different exploration patterns, older adults were most impaired in recognition accuracy for disgusted expressions. Correlation analysis revealed that among older adults, more mouth exploration was associated with faster recognition of both disgusted and happy expressions. As a whole, these findings suggest that in aging there are both attentional differences and perceptual deficits contributing to less accurate emotion recognition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 13, no 10, article id e0205341
Keywords [en]
face recognition, emotions, fear, elderly, eye-tracking
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161286DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205341ISI: 000447701300028OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161286DiVA, id: diva2:1257171
Note

This work was supported by Swedish Research Council (421 2013-854) awarded to H.F., Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant (639947) to E.B.

Available from: 2018-10-19 Created: 2018-10-19 Last updated: 2018-11-12Bibliographically approved

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