August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Do Children Recognize Dynamic Emotional Expressions Better than Static Ones?
Author Affiliations
  • Nicole Nelson
    Psychology, Arts and Sciences, Boston College
  • James Russell
    Psychology, Arts and Sciences, Boston College
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 965. doi:10.1167/12.9.965
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      Nicole Nelson, James Russell; Do Children Recognize Dynamic Emotional Expressions Better than Static Ones?. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):965. doi: 10.1167/12.9.965.

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Abstract

Adults are more likely to attribute the expected emotion to a facial expression presented as a dynamic video clip than one presented as static photograph (Bould, Morris & Wink, 2008). However, prior research with preschoolers found no such benefit; 2- to 4-year-olds were no more likely to attribute the expected emotion to dynamic expression than to a static one (Nelson & Russell, 2011). It is possible that preschoolers simply have too little experience with expressions to find a benefit in dynamic presentations, but older children may respond more like adults. We presented 48 children (4- to 7-year-olds) with both static and dynamic expressions. The dynamic expressions were created by a professional actress and contained several emotion cues to provide children sufficient emotional information; the actress simultaneously displayed facial, postural, and vocal cues. Two sets of static facial expressions were also presented. One set was posed by the same actress featured in the dynamic expressions and the other set was a standardized set of expressions previously published (Tracy, Robins & Schriber, 2009). Basic (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust) and social emotions (embarrassment, pride) were presented. Children’s attributions varied with age F (1, 46) = 25.89, p <.001, and with emotion F (7, 322) = 47.02, p <.001. However, like preschoolers, 4- to 7-year-olds were no more likely to attribute the expected emotion to the dynamic expressions as they were to the static expressions, F (2, 92) = .39, p = .67. These data suggest that children under the age of seven years do not find the presentation of dynamic emotional expressions to be beneficial in attributing emotions, despite the dynamic nature of expressions seen in daily life. Finding a benefit in dynamic expressions may be a later-emerging skill, one that developing between late childhood and adulthood.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012

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