Atypical emotion recognition from bodies is associated with perceptual difficulties in healthy aging.

Chard, James; Edey, Rosanna; Yon, Daniel; Murphy, Jennifer; Bird, Geoffrey and Press, Clare. 2019. Atypical emotion recognition from bodies is associated with perceptual difficulties in healthy aging. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 45(6), pp. 803-811. ISSN 0096-1523 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

A range of processes are required for recognizing others’ affective states. It is particularly important that we process the perceptual cues providing information about these states. These experiments tested the hypothesis that difficulties with affective state identification in older adults (OAs) arise, at least partly, from deficits in perceptual processing. To this end we presented “point light display” whole body stimuli to healthy OAs and comparison younger adults (YAs) in 3 signal detection experiments. We examined the ability of OAs to recognize visual bodily information—posture and kinematics—and whether impaired recognition of affective states can be explained by deficits in processing these cues. OAs exhibited reduced sensitivity to postural cues (Experiment 1) but not to kinematic cues (Experiment 2) in affectively neutral stimuli. Importantly, they also exhibited reduced sensitivity only to affective states conveyed predominantly through posture (Experiment 3) —that is, the cue they were impaired in perceiving. These findings highlight how affective state identification difficulties in OAs may arise from problems in perceptual processing and demonstrate more widely how it is essential to consider the contribution of perceptual processes to emotion recognition. (APA PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

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©American Psychological Association, 2019. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: doi:10.1037/xhp0000634


emotion recognition, vision, body perception, healthy aging

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19 January 2019Accepted
1 June 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

24 Feb 2020 17:02

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09 May 2022 15:22

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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