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Youna Dion-Marcoux, Helene Forget, Caroline Blais, Alicia Roy-Binet, Daniel Fiset; Old and Young use the same visual information to identify basic facial expressions. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1390. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.1390.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous studies have shown that aging is associated with difficulties at recognizing facial expressions of fear, anger and sadness (Calder et al., 2003; West et al., 2012). Along with this alteration in performance, differences are observed between the visual scanpaths of older and younger adults during facial emotion recognition, whereby older adults fixate less on the eye area (Circelli et al., 2013). However, in emotion recognition, there is not a perfect overlap between the areas fixated on a face, and the utilization of the information contained in those areas (e.g. Blais et al., 2012 vs. Vaidya, et al., 2014). The present study therefore compared the visual information utilization of older adults (N=31; 65+ years old; Mage=71.8) to that of younger adults (N=31; 18-30 years old; Mage=22.6) during the recognition of facial emotions. The Bubbles method (Gosselin & Schyns, 2001) was used in a facial expression categorization task including four basic emotions (happy, fear, disgust and anger), displayed by either young (5 identities) or old faces (5 identities; Lindenberger, Ebner & Riediger, 2005). Classification images representing the visual information positively correlated with accuracy were separately obtained for each facial expression, facial age, and participants' age group. The results showed that older and younger participants use the same facial features in the same spatial frequency bands to accurately categorize the four basic facial expressions. Moreover, the visual information utilization was not modulated by the age of the face stimuli. Further investigation will be needed to clarify the apparent disparity between the present results, indicating no difference between old adults' and young adults' visual information utilization, and previous studies showing an altered visual scanpath in older adults.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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