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Shelby King, Dixi Secula, Allison Rinne, Alyssa Minton, Ashley Gilliam, Andrew Mienaltowski; Age Differences in Emotional Enhancement of Visually-Evoked Early Posterior Negativity during Peripheral Emotion Detection. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):569. doi: 10.1167/18.10.569.
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Advancing age is associated with declines in useful field of view and sensitivity to low spatial frequency information, both of which are important to detecting emotion in peripherally-presented faces. Age differences in emotion detection ability were explored by manipulating the expressive intensity of happy and angry faces and their peripheral location on a display. Younger (n = 27, ages 18-27) and older (n = 28, ages 60-79) adults observed emotional and neutral faces, blocked by emotion and intensity, at three different peripheral locations (5, 10, and 15 degrees) to the left and right of a central fixation point. The task consisted of 960 trials (240 per emotion and intensity) randomly distributed in equal proportions across the six peripheral locations. In addition to measuring psychophysical emotion detection performance, visually-evoked potentials time-locked to the onset of the faces were recorded to investigate the impact of emotion type, intensity, and stimulus location on a perceptual early posterior negativity (EPN) from 160 to 300 ms and linked to emotion categorization. Younger adults consistently outperformed older adults on the psychophysical tasks, but both performed better for higher than for lower intensity stimuli and worse overall at more distant peripheral locations. Age differences emerged in the late EPN such that, although both age groups showed an enhanced late EPN to happy expressions, only younger adults displayed an enhanced late EPN to angry expressions. These findings support the existence of age-related emotion perception deficits, but also suggest that these deficits are smaller for happy expressions which may be more salient in the periphery. The findings also provide neurophysiological evidence for a positivity effect for older adults within perceptual processes.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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