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Perceiving arousal and valence in facial expressions: Differences between children and adults

Vesker et al. (2017) European Journal of Developmental Psychology


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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;Arousal and valence have long been studied as the two primary dimensions for&lt;br&gt;
the perception of emotional stimuli such as facial expressions. Prior correlational&lt;br&gt;
studies that tested emotion perception along these dimensions found broad&lt;br&gt;
similarities between adults and children. However, few studies looked for&lt;br&gt;
direct differences between children and adults in these dimensions beyond&lt;br&gt;
correlation. We tested 9-year-old children and adults on rating positive and&lt;br&gt;
negative facial stimuli based on emotional arousal and valence. Despite high&lt;br&gt;
significant correlations between children’s and adults’ ratings, our findings also&lt;br&gt;
showed significant differences between children and adults in terms of rating&lt;br&gt;
values: Children rated all expressions as significantly more positive than adults&lt;br&gt;
in valence. Children also rated positive emotions as more arousing than adults.&lt;br&gt;
Our results show that although perception of facial emotions along arousal and&lt;br&gt;
valence follows similar patterns in children and adults, some differences in ratings&lt;br&gt;
persist, and vary by emotion type.&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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