Document Type

Article - post-print

Publication Date



In two studies, we investigated age effects in the ability to recognize dynamic posed and spontaneous smiles. Study 1 found that both younger and older adult participants were above-chance in their ability to distinguish between posed and spontaneous younger adult smiles. Study 2 found that younger adult participant performance declined when judging a combination of both younger and older adult target smiles, while older adult participants outperformed younger adult participants in distinguishing between posed and spontaneous smiles. A synthesis of results across the two studies showed a small-to-medium age effect (d = −0.40) suggesting an older adult advantage when discriminating between smile types. Mixed stimuli (i.e., a mixture of younger and older adult faces) may impact accurate smile discrimination. Future research should investigate both the sources (cues, etc.) and behavioral effects of age-related differences in the discrimination of positive expressions.

Publisher Statement

This is an author-manuscript of an article accepted for publication in Psychology and Aging. The published version of this record is available online at doi: 10.1037/a0019888.

Recommended Citation

Murphy, N. A., Lehrfeld, J. M., & Isaacowitz, D. M. (2010). Recognition of Posed and Spontaneous Dynamic Smiles in Younger and Older Adults. Psychology and Aging, 25(4), 811–821.

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