September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
The effect of emotional expression on perceived facial age
Author Affiliations
  • Tzvi Ganel
    Department of Psychology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 707. doi:
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      Tzvi Ganel; The effect of emotional expression on perceived facial age. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):707.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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People smile and express other emotional expressions in social interactions to convey different types of nonverbal communications. In the current project, I have studied the effects of different emotional expressions, in particular that of facial smile, on the perceived facial age. Smiling, as well as other facial expressions such as anger or fear, could potentially change the way that a person is perceived along different facial dimensions. Notably, these dimensions include perceived age. For smiling faces, it is commonly assumed that they are perceived as younger compared with faces carrying a neutral expression. In a series of experiments, I report a counter-intuitive effect in the opposite direction. Across different experimental conditions and stimulus sets, smiling faces were consistently perceived as older compared with neutral faces of the same persons. A similar effect was found for other facial expressions beyond smile. I suggest that this effect is due to the observer’s failure to ignore emotion-associated wrinkles along the region of the eyes. These findings point to a misconception regarding the relationship between facial smile and perceived age and shed new light on the processes underlying human age perception.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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