Development of emotional facial recognition in late childhood and adolescence.

Published

Journal Article

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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Thomas, LA; De Bellis, MD; Graham, R; LaBar, KS

Published Date

  • September 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 547 - 558

PubMed ID

  • 17683341

Pubmed Central ID

  • 17683341

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-7687

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1363-755X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2007.00614.x

Language

  • eng