We tend to believe that older people are more positive and younger people are more sensitive to social cues.
Recently scientists investigated this idea by testing 10,000 men and women. They wanted to see if age affected a person’s ability to identify subtle facial emotions, such as fear and anger.
The researchers from McLean Hospital in the US used a Web-based platform to collect happiness data. It showed the participants two headshots of random people. They were then asked to identify which subject was angrier, happier, or more fearful.
The research found that younger people were able to better identify angry and fearful facial cues than older people.
“From studies and anecdotal evidence, we know that the everyday experiences of an adolescent are different from an older person, but we wanted to understand how these experiences might be linked with differences in basic emotion understanding,” wrote Laura Germine, the study’s senior author.
But what is it that makes young people more sensitive?
“This is the exact age when young people are most sensitive to forms of negative social cues, such as bullying,” Lauren Rutter, the study’s lead author, told Science Daily. “The normal development of anger sensitivity can contribute to some of the challenges that arise during this phase of development.”
On the contrary, across the whole 10,000-person survey, researchers found no decline in the perception of happiness among older participants.
“What’s remarkable is that we see declines in many visual perceptual abilities as we get older, but here we did not see such declines in the perception of happiness,” Germine told Neuro Science News.
She added that these findings fit well with other research, showing that older adults tend to have more positive emotions and a positive outlook.
Following the paper’s release, Rutter told Neuro Science News that gathering their primary research online allowed the team to tap into a “much larger and more diverse sample set” than previous studies.
Now, the team is working toward a new study that examines how emotional sensitivity is related to different aspects of mental health, such as anxiety and depression.
21英语网站版权说明 (Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Ji Yuan)