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Impact of familiarity upon children's developing facial expression recognition

Herba, Catherine M., Benson, Philip, Landau, Sabine, Russell, Tamara, Goodwin, Claire, Lemche, Erwin, Santosh, Paramala and Phillips, Mary Louise 2007. Impact of familiarity upon children's developing facial expression recognition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 49 (2) , pp. 201-210. 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01835.x

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Background: The impact of personal familiarity upon children's developing emotion-processing has been largely ignored in previous research, yet may prove particularly important given the emotional salience of such stimuli and children's greater exposure to familiar others compared to strangers. We examined the impact of personal familiarity upon developing facial expression recognition (FER). Methods: Participants included 153 children, 4–15 years old. We employed dynamic expressions of five emotions (happy, sad, anger, fear, disgust), posed by familiar (parents, teachers) and unfamiliar identities. Results: Accuracy improved with age for recognising sad and fear expressions, but not anger. Children tended to correctly recognise happiness and fear at lower intensities. The impact of familiarity on FER depended on emotion-category. Familiarity did not affect recognition of sad expressions, but children were less accurate at recognising anger, fear, and disgust in familiar individuals compared to strangers. Conclusion: Personal familiarity may exert a distracting effect on children's performance. Findings highlight the importance of incorporating different emotion-categories and familiarity when examining the development of FER. Clinical implications are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Uncontrolled Keywords: child development, emotional expression, emotion recognition, development, facial expression, familiar
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0021-9630
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:47

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