Emotional expressions reduce the own-age bias

Sophie L. Cronin, Belinda M. Craig, Ottmar V. Lipp

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review


We are better at recognising faces of our own age group compared to faces of other age groups. It has been suggested that this own-age bias (OAB) might occur because of perceptual-expertise and/or social-cognitive mechanisms. While there is evidence to suggest a role of perceptual-expertise, little research has explored the role of social-cognitive factors. To do so, we looked at how the presence of an emotional expression on the face changes the magnitude of the OAB. Across three experiments young adult participants were presented with young and older adult face to remember. Neutral faces were first presented alone (Experiment 1) to validate the proposed paradigm, and then presented along with angry (Experiment 2), sad or happy faces (Experiment 3). The presence of an emotional expression improved the recognition of older adult faces, reducing the OAB which was evident for neutral faces. These results support the involvement of social-cognitive factors in the OAB, suggesting that a perceptual-expertise account cannot fully explain this face recognition bias.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event45th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Experimental Psychology - Hobart Function and Conference Centre, Hobart, Australia
Duration: 4 Apr 20187 Apr 2018
Conference number: 45th


Conference45th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Experimental Psychology
Abbreviated titleEPC
Internet address


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