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Danielle Longfield, Kendra Thomson, Catherine Mondloch; Sensitivity to posed versus genuine expressions: Are children easily fooled?. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):481. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.8.481.
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Adults are sensitive to the authenticity of facial expressions. They evaluate t-shirts more positively when worn by a model displaying a genuine smile than a posed smile or a neutral expression (Peace et al., 2006). They are more likely to say that a model displaying genuine happiness is feeling happy than a model displaying posed happiness, but fail to recognize that an expression is posed about 50% of the time (Miles & Johnson, 2007). We conducted two experiments to determine whether children are sensitive to the authenticity of facial expressions. In Experiment 1, 7-year-olds and adults (n=48 per group) first ranked 6 beach balls held by a female model displaying genuine happiness, posed happiness, or a neutral expression (n = 2 balls per expression) in order of preference. In a subsequent show/feel task, participants indicated whether each of 12 models displaying genuine happiness, posed happiness, or a neutral expression (n = 4 per expression) was showing happy and whether each was feeling happy. Both 7-year-olds and adults reported that genuine models were feeling happy more often than posed models (p p [[gt]] .20), perhaps because they failed to attend to the faces. In Experiment 2, we initially covered the 6 beach balls in the ranking task to ensure that the children viewed the faces prior to ranking the beach balls. Data to date (28 7-year-olds, 22 9-year-olds) indicates that, like adults, children rank beach balls paired with genuine expressions more favorably than beach balls paired with posed or neutral expressions, p p [[gt]] .5. We conclude that by age 7 years, children are sensitive to the authenticity of expressions and that this sensitivity can influence their evaluation of products.
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