Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 136073, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/136073
Research Article

Interactions between Identity and Emotional Expression in Face Processing across the Lifespan: Evidence from Redundancy Gains

1School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
2Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UD, UK

Received 21 October 2013; Accepted 20 January 2014; Published 15 April 2014

Academic Editor: Arshad Jahangir

Copyright © 2014 Alla Yankouskaya et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We tested how aging affects the integration of visual information from faces. Three groups of participants aged 20–30, 40–50, and 60–70 performed a divided attention task in which they had to detect the presence of a target facial identity or a target facial expression. Three target stimuli were used: (1) with the target identity but not the target expression, (2) with the target expression but not the target identity, and (3) with both the target identity and target expression (the redundant target condition). On nontarget trials the faces contained neither the target identity nor expression. All groups were faster in responding to a face containing both the target identity and emotion compared to faces containing either single target. Furthermore the redundancy gains for combined targets exceeded performance limits predicted by the independent processing of facial identity and emotion. These results are held across the age range. The results suggest that there is interactive processing of facial identity and emotion which is independent of the effects of cognitive aging. Older participants demonstrated reliably larger size of the redundancy gains compared to the young group that reflect a greater experience with faces. Alternative explanations are discussed.