ERIC Number: EJ849152
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 80
Development of Emotional Facial Recognition in Late Childhood and Adolescence
Thomas, Laura A.; De Bellis, Michael D.; Graham, Reiko; Labar, Kevin S.
Developmental Science, v10 n5 p547-558 Sep 2007
The ability to interpret emotions in facial expressions is crucial for social functioning across the lifespan. Facial expression recognition develops rapidly during infancy and improves with age during the preschool years. However, the developmental trajectory from late childhood to adulthood is less clear. We tested older children, adolescents and adults on a two-alternative forced-choice discrimination task using morphed faces that varied in emotional content. Actors appeared to pose expressions that changed incrementally along three progressions: neutral-to-fear, neutral-to-anger, and fear-to-anger. Across all three morph types, adults displayed more sensitivity to subtle changes in emotional expression than children and adolescents. Fear morphs and fear-to-anger blends showed a linear developmental trajectory, whereas anger morphs showed a quadratic trend, increasing sharply from adolescents to adults. The results provide evidence for late developmental changes in emotional expression recognition with some specificity in the time course for distinct emotions.
Descriptors: Nonverbal Communication, Adolescents, Fear, Children, Interpersonal Competence, Age Differences, Developmental Stages, Adults, Visual Stimuli, Visual Discrimination
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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