Facial affect recognition across the adult life span

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Introduction: The results of the researches have shown expression and recognition of emotion are two of the basic skills on which normal social interaction is based. As people grow older, they may become wiser and more experienced in interacting with other people, but they can also experience memory loss and cognitive slow-down, influencing the quality of relations in their daily routines. Experimental studies indicate that facial affect recognition, particularly negative emotions, decreases with age. However, there is no consensus at with age the decrease in emotion recognition begin, and how selective this is to negative emotions. Material and method: In the current study, 86 participants ranging in age from 18 to 65 years were asked to recognize emotion expressed facially with pictures of facial affect (Ekman and Friesen, 1976). Findings: in general, older participants were found to be less accurate at recognizing emotions with the most distinctive age difference pertaining to a certain group of negative emotions. Result revealed an age related decline in the recognition of sadness, fear, surprise and disgust, starting at about 40 years of age.  Discussion and conclusion: implication of age-related differences in facial emotion expression and early onset of the selective decrease in emotion recognition are discussed in terms of previous findings, relevant theoretical model and studies from the neuropsychological and functional imaging literature that indicate the separate brain regions underlie these emotions.



Facial affect recognition, cognitive functioning, neuropsychology, life span

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group Group 1 Group 3 Group 3 Group 3 Group 2 Group 3 Group 3 Group 2 Group 3 Group 3 Group 2 Group 3 Group 3 Standard error 1.31 1.33 1.46 .68 2.1 .38 .60 .61 .67 .36 .37 .41 1.43 .99 .00 Group 2 .00

Group 1: people in 18 to 30, group 2: people in 30 to 50, group 3: people more than 50

In order to check this subject that in which age there is deficit in recognition of effect of sadness,

fear, disgust and surprise in life span, the people of sample group were divided in to 5 groups of

less than 20, among 21 to 30, among 31 to 40, among 41 to 50 and more than 51 and in terms of

mentioned affects recognition were compared, as it is shown in table 3 from more than 40 the

gradual decrease of all mentioned affect recognition are observed, due to these finding the results

of Pearson correlation shows that there is negative significant correlation between age and

surprise affects (r=-0.29, P=0.00), fear (r=-0.40, P=0.00), sorrow (r=-0.40, P=0.00), hate (r=

0.35, P= 0.00). It means with age increase there is a significant reduction in correct recognition

of these affects while it is not observed about other affects.

Figure 3. The mean of different affects recognition in different age groups separately. CONCLUSION

The purpose of present study is facial affect recognition across the adult life span, the results of

research show that with increasing age, gradual reduction of facial affect recognition happens.

This deficit started from the age of 40, till finally after the age of 50 this deference in recognition

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