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Recognition of high and low intensity facial and vocal expressions of emotion by children and adults
journal contributionposted on 29.01.2019, 00:00 authored by Barbra ZupanBarbra Zupan
The ability to accurately identify facial and vocal cues of emotion is important to the development of psychosocial well-being. However, the developmental trajectory and pattern of recognition for emotions expressed in the facial versus vocal modality remain unclear. The current study aimed to expand upon the literature in this area by examining differences in the identification of high and low intensity facial versus vocal emotion expressions by participants in four separate age groups, making a novel contribution to the literature. The Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy Scale-Second Edition, a standardized test of emotion recognition that includes previously validated high and low intensity expressions in each modality was administered to a total of 40 participants, 10 in each of four age groups (preschoolers, school-aged children, early adolescents, adults). Results showed that as age increased, accuracy of recognition for both facial and vocal emotion expressions increased. Adult- like proficiency for facial emotion recognition was reached by school-aged children but did not occur for vocal affect recognition until early adolescence. Intensity differentially impacted the recognition of facial and vocal emotion expressions, with increased intensity leading to better recognition of facial, but not vocal expressions. Happy was the emotion best recognized in facial emotion expressions and angry was best recognized in vocal emotion expressions but patterns of recognition for the remaining emotions varied across the two modalities and across age groups. Overall, results indicate that recognition of vocal emotion expressions lags behind that of visual and that the intensity and emotion expressed differentially influence recognition across these two modalities.