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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Adult aging influences the decoding of social and emotional cues. Older adults perform worse than younger adults in labeling some types of emotional expression from faces, bodies, and voices. Age-related declines also occur in following social cues from eye gaze. Other aspects of social perception show age-related stability, including automatic mimicry responses to emotional stimuli. There are also age-related improvements or positivity biases in some social perception tasks such as decoding information about smiles. Evidence to date indicates that age-related deficits in social perception are not caused by general cognitive or perceptual decline. Other plausible explanations for age effects on social perception include structural changes in the aging brain, or age-related alterations in motivational goals. To date, there is not enough direct evidence to evaluate these possibilities. It is important to learn more about how the social and emotion perception changes in old age influence everyday interpersonal interactions and well-being.

Keywords: aging, emotion, social perception, emotion perception, joint attention

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