SATO Wataru Laboratory

Older adults detect happy facial expressions less rapidly

(Saito, Sato, & Yoshikawa: R Soc Open Sci)

Previous experimental psychology studies based on visual search paradigms have reported that young adults detect emotional facial expressions more rapidly than emotionally neutral expressions.
However, it remains unclear whether this holds in older adults.

We investigated this by comparing the abilities of young and older adults to detect emotional and neutral facial expressions while controlling the visual properties of faces presented (termed anti-expressions) in a visual search task.

Both age groups detected normal angry faces more rapidly than anti-angry faces.
However, whereas young adults detected normal happy faces more rapidly than anti-happy faces, older adults did not.

This suggests that older adults may not be easy to detect or focusing attention towards smiling faces appearing peripherally.

Return to Recent Research.
Return to Main Menu.