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Behav. Sci. 2015, 5(4), 443-460; doi:10.3390/bs5040443

Age-Related Response Bias in the Decoding of Sad Facial Expressions

Department of Psychology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Rudower Chaussee 18, Berlin D-12489, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: John Coverdale
Received: 25 September 2015 / Revised: 19 October 2015 / Accepted: 22 October 2015 / Published: 27 October 2015
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Recent studies have found that age is negatively associated with the accuracy of decoding emotional facial expressions; this effect of age was found for actors as well as for raters. Given that motivational differences and stereotypes may bias the attribution of emotion, the aim of the present study was to explore whether these age effects are due to response bias, that is, the unbalanced use of response categories. Thirty younger raters (19–30 years) and thirty older raters (65–81 years) viewed video clips of younger and older actors representing the same age ranges, and decoded their facial expressions. We computed both raw hit rates and bias-corrected hit rates to assess the influence of potential age-related response bias on decoding accuracy. Whereas raw hit rates indicated significant effects of both the actors’ and the raters’ ages on decoding accuracy for sadness, these age effects were no longer significant when response bias was corrected. Our results suggest that age effects on the accuracy of decoding facial expressions may be due, at least in part, to age-related response bias. View Full-Text
Keywords: response bias; stereotypes; decoding accuracy; emotion attribution; facial expressions; aging response bias; stereotypes; decoding accuracy; emotion attribution; facial expressions; aging

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fölster, M.; Hess, U.; Hühnel, I.; Werheid, K. Age-Related Response Bias in the Decoding of Sad Facial Expressions. Behav. Sci. 2015, 5, 443-460.

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