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Developmental changes in the critical information used for facial expression processing

Ewing, L; Karmiloff-Smith, A; Farran, EK; Smith, ML; (2017) Developmental changes in the critical information used for facial expression processing. Cognition , 166 pp. 56-66. 10.1016/j.cognition.2017.05.017. Green open access

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Abstract

Facial expression recognition skills are known to improve across childhood and adolescence, but the mechanisms driving the development of these important social abilities remain unclear. This study investigates directly whether there are qualitative differences in child and adult processing strategies for these emotional stimuli. With a novel adaptation of the Bubbles reverse-correlation paradigm (Gosselin & Schyns, 2001), we added noise to expressive face stimuli and presented sub-sets of randomly sampled information from each image at different locations and spatial frequency bands across experimental trials. Results from our large developmental sample: 71 young children (6 -9years), 69 older children (10-13years) and 54 adults, uniquely reveal profiles of strategic information-use for categorisations of fear, sadness, happiness and anger at all ages. All three groups relied upon a distinct set of key facial features for each of these expressions, with fine-tuning of this diagnostic information (features and spatial frequency) observed across developmental time. Reported variability in the developmental trajectories for different emotional expressions is consistent with the notion of functional links between the refinement of information-use and processing ability.

Type: Article
Title: Developmental changes in the critical information used for facial expression processing
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2017.05.017
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.05.017
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Children, Development, Emotional expressions, Face perception, Reverse correlation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1561550
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