The effect of emotional expression on perceived facial age

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract


People smile and express other emotional expressions in social interactions to convey different types of nonverbal communications. In the current project, I have studied the effects of different emotional expressions, in particular that of facial smile, on the perceived facial age. Smiling, as well as other facial expressions such as anger or fear, could potentially change the way that a person is perceived along different facial dimensions. Notably, these dimensions include perceived age. For smiling faces, it is commonly assumed that they are perceived as younger compared with faces carrying a neutral expression. In a series of experiments, I report a counter-intuitive effect in the opposite direction. Across different experimental conditions and stimulus sets, smiling faces were consistently perceived as older compared with neutral faces of the same persons. A similar effect was found for other facial expressions beyond smile. I suggest that this effect is due to the observer’s failure to ignore emotion-associated wrinkles along the region of the eyes. These findings point to a misconception regarding the relationship between facial smile and perceived age and shed new light on the processes underlying human age perception. Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)707
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2015


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