Conference Paper

Emotional faces of children and adults: What changes in their perception

Authors:
  • Università degli Studi della Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli"
  • Università degli studi della Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Caserta, Italy
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... He et al. [17] reported an "own age effect" both in young and older adults. Children and middleaged adults seem not to be exposed to it [11] reported no age effects in children and adults called to decode children and young adults' emotional faces. ...
... The abovementioned factors, all contributing to the interpretation of emotional faces have been shown to differently affect their decoding accuracy. Indeed, it has been shown that also factors such as face's familiarity, cultural closeness, actors' skills, black versus white photos, dynamic versus static faces, subjects' education, and their visual acuity can play a role [1,2,5,8,11,25,27]. The decoding of emotional faces cannot be studied in pristine isolation. ...
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This paper proposes a systematic approach to investigate the impact of factors such as the gender and age of participants and gender, and age of faces on the decoding accuracy of emotional expressions of disgust, anger, sadness, fear, happiness, and neutrality. The emotional stimuli consisted of 76 posed and 76 naturalistic faces, differently aged (young, middle-aged, and older) selected from FACES and SFEW databases. Either a posed or naturalistic faces’ decoding task was administered. The posed faces’ decoding task involved three differently aged groups (young, middle-aged, and older adults). The naturalistic faces’ decoding task involved two groups of older adults. For the posed decoding task, older adults were found significantly less accurate than middle-aged and young participants, and middle-aged significantly less accurate than young participants. Old faces were significantly less accurately decoded than young and middle-aged faces of disgust, and anger, and young faces of fear, and neutrality. Female faces were significantly more accurately decoded than male faces of anger and sadness, significantly less accurately decoded than male faces of neutrality. For the naturalistic decoding task, older adults were significantly less accurate in decoding naturalistic rather than posed faces of disgust, fear, and neutrality, contradicting an older adults’ emended support from a prior naturalistic emotional experience. Young faces were more accurately decoded than old and middle-aged faces of disgust and anger and old faces of neutrality. Female faces were significantly more accurately decoded than male faces of fear, and significantly less accurately decoded than male faces of anger. Significant effects and significant interdependencies were observed among the age of participants, emotional categories, age, and gender of faces, and type of stimuli (naturalistic vs. posed), not allowing to distinctly isolate the effects of each involved variable. Nevertheless, the data collected in this paper weakens both the assumptions on women enhanced ability to display and decode emotions and participants enhanced ability to decode faces closer to their own age (“own age bias” theory). Considerations are made on how these data would guide the development of assessment tools and preventive interventions and the design of emotionally and socially believable virtual agents and robots to assists and coach emotionally vulnerable people in their daily routines.
... The effect of age on emotion decoding has been investigated by several studies which focused on how this ability evolve during the growth process and with aging. The results of these studies seem to converge on reporting that equally aged children are better in recognizing some emotions rather than others such as happiness and anger compared to sadness and fear (Esposito et al. 2018;Chronaki et al., 2015;Lawrance et al., 2015;Rodger et al., 2015). However, how the learning and growing processes affect children's ability to recognize emotions over time is still matter of investigation. ...
... Nevertheless results for children and adolescents are conflicting. In fact, while some studies have shown the existence of the OAB in children, who tend to better recognize facial expressions of their peers (Rodhes & Anastasi, 2005), others showed that children can recognize emotional expressions equally well, regardless of whether these are expressed by peers or adults (Esposito et al., 2018). Studies comparing elders and young adults' ability to recognize facial expressions, and the effect of the OAB on this process, reached discordant results. ...
... While some studies have shown that this is true for adults [17] [18], who tend to recognize facial expressions of peers more quickly and accurately than those expressed by younger or older people, results for children and adolescents are conflicting. In fact, while some studies have shown the existence of the Own Age Bias in children, who tend to better recognize facial expressions of their peers [19], others showed that children can recognize emotional expressions equally well, regardless of whether these are expressed by their peers or by adults [20]. Even the gender of the face which expresses an emotion could have an impact on facial expressions' accuracy recognition. ...
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Considered the increasing use of assistive technologies in the shape of virtual agents, it is necessary to investigate those factors which characterize and affect the interaction between the user and the agent, among these emerges the way in which people interpret and decode synthetic emotions, i.e., emotional expressions conveyed by virtual agents. For these reasons, an article is proposed, which involved 278 participants split in differently aged groups (young, middle-aged, and elders). Within each age group, some participants were administered a “naturalistic decoding task,” a recognition task of human emotional faces, while others were administered a “synthetic decoding task” namely emotional expressions conveyed by virtual agents. Participants were required to label pictures of female and male humans or virtual agents of different ages (young, middle-aged, and old) displaying static expressions of disgust, anger, sadness, fear, happiness, surprise, and neutrality. Results showed that young participants showed better recognition performances (compared to older groups) of anger, sadness, and neutrality, while female participants showed better recognition performances (compared to males) of sadness, fear, and neutrality; sadness and fear were better recognized when conveyed by real human faces, while happiness, surprise, and neutrality were better recognized when represented by virtual agents. Young faces were better decoded when expressing anger and surprise, middle-aged faces were better decoded when expressing sadness, fear, and happiness, while old faces were better decoded in the case of disgust; on average, female faces where better decoded compared to male ones.
... Some coginfocom researchers have studied linguistic representation of reasoning [35]. The dynamics of human use of gesture during dialogue is a core topic in coginfocom [36], [37], [38], [39], [40], [41], as is emotion [42], the linguistic expression of emotion [43], emotion voicing [44], [45], [46], emotion depiction [47], [48], influence of emotion on reasoning [49], and the synthesis of modalities of expression [50], [51], [52], [53], [54], [55], [56]. ...
... Some have addressed linguistic representation of reasoning [16]. Inside the coginfocom community the dynamics of gesture in dialogue has been addressed [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], as have emotion [23], the language of emotion [24], voice of emotion [25], [26], [27], image of emotion [28], [29], impacts of emotion on reasoning [30], and modality synthesis [31], [32], [33], [34], [35], [36], [37]. ...
... The development of emotional skills, among which we also consider facial recognition, is an on going process from childhood to adulthood. Moreover the accuracy and the rapidity with which individuals recognize emotions is still modifying (increasing) in the adolescence period [6][7][8][9]. When it comes to individual with ASD, studies have shown that their ability to recognize emotions may be impaired when compared with typical developing individuals [10][11]. ...
... In this context, it was hypothesized that males rely less on subtle differences in facially expressed arousal when processing faces (Thayer & Johnsen, 2000) which could lead to over-or misinterpretations of neutral expressions. Furthermore, regarding facial emotion recognition, a moderate female superiority seems to exist (e.g., Donges, Kersting, & Suslow, 2012;Montagne et al., 2005;Andric-Petrovic et al., 2019;Thompson & Voyer, 2014), whereas this effect seemingly depends, inter alia, on the properties of the stimulus such as valence, specific emotion, gender of displayed face, or subtleness of emotion (e.g., Connolly, Lefevre, Young, & Lewis, 2019;Esposito et al., 2018;Hoffmann et al., 2010;Thompson & Voyer, 2014). The result regarding neutral words contradicts previous studies that showed no gender difference (Deckert, 2014). ...
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The ability to recognize emotions that were easily identifiable and those that were more difficult to identify, as expressed by male and female faces, was studied in 48 nondisabled children and 76 children with learning disabilities (LD) ages 9 through 12. On the basis of their performance on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test and the Benton Visual Retention Test, the LD group was divided into three subgroups: those with verbal (VD), nonverbal (NVD), and both verbal and nonverbal (BD) deficits. A shortened version of Ekman and Friesen's Pictures of Facial Affect, including pictures of both men and women, was the measure of ability to identify facial expressions of affect. Children of both genders in all three groups of children with LD, as well as their normally achieving peers, were more accurate in identifying expressions of affect from female faces, notwithstanding differences in sensitivity to such emotional communication in favor of the nondisabled and VD groups. However, a significant interaction was found between gender and emotional recognition difficulty level, with female faces being more expressive for emotions that were difficult to recognize.