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No Smile Like Another: Adult Age Differences in Reading Smiles

Smiles are facial expressions of high ecological relevance that can be accompanied by different emotional experiences: people smile when they experience positive emotions, for example, when they are amused or happy. They also smile to conform to social conventions, for example, to be polite, even when they are not actually experiencing any particular emotion. Occasionally, people also smile while experiencing negative feelings, for example, when they want to appease an aggressive interaction partner. This ongoing project uses experimental paradigms to investigate the following questions: Do younger and older adults differ in how well they are able to identify the emotional experiences accompanying different types of smiles? Do people from different age groups rely on different facial cues to decide which emotion the smiling person is experiencing?

Smiles Gesichter
© Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

Principal Investigators

Markus Studtmann

Michaela Riediger