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ERIC Number: EJ1094916
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Developmental Changes in the Primacy of Facial Cues for Emotion Recognition
Leitzke, Brian T.; Pollak, Seth D.
Developmental Psychology, v52 n4 p572-581 Apr 2016
There have been long-standing differences of opinion regarding the influence of the face relative to that of contextual information on how individuals process and judge facial expressions of emotion. However, developmental changes in how individuals use such information have remained largely unexplored and could be informative in attempting to reconcile these opposing views. The current study tested for age-related differences in how individuals prioritize viewing emotional faces versus contexts when making emotion judgments. To do so, we asked 4-, 8-, and 12-year-old children as well as college students to categorize facial expressions of emotion that were presented with scenes that were either congruent or incongruent with the facial displays. During this time, we recorded participants' gaze patterns via eye tracking. College students directed their visual attention primarily to the face, regardless of contextual information. Children, however, divided their attention between both the face and the context as sources of emotional information depending on the valence of the context. These findings reveal a developmental shift in how individuals process and integrate emotional cues.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institute of Mental Health (DHHS/NIH); Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: MH61285; T32MH01893123; P30HD03352