Dissociation of detection and evaluation of facial expressions in adolescence

Martin Jüttner, Katherine Quinlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Holistic face perception, i.e. the mandatory integration of featural information across the face, hasbeen considered to play a key role when recognizing emotional face expressions (e.g., Tanaka et al.,2002). However, despite their early onset holistic processing skills continue to improvethroughout adolescence (e.g., Schwarzer et al., 2010) and therefore might modulate theevaluation of facial expressions. We tested this hypothesis using an attentional blink (AB)paradigm to compare the impact of happy, fearful and neutral faces in adolescents (10–13 years)and adults on subsequently presented neutral target stimuli (animals, plants and objects) in a rapidserial visual presentation stream. Adolescents and adults were found to be equally reliable whenreporting the emotional expression of the face stimuli. However, the detection of emotional butnot neutral faces imposed a significantly stronger AB effect on the detection of the neutral targetsin adults compared to adolescents. In a control experiment we confirmed that adolescents ratedemotional faces lower in terms of valence and arousal than adults. The results suggest a protracteddevelopment of the ability to evaluate facial expressions that might be attributed to the latematuration of holistic processing skills.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1P1M065
Pages (from-to)19
Number of pages1
Issue numberSuppl.1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2015
Event38th European Conference on Visual Perception - Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Aug 201627 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

ECVP 2015 Abstract: 38th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) 2015 Liverpool


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