Emotions More Difficult to Judge in Older Adults

Negative emotions like “sad” or “angry” have been stereotypically applied to the elderly for years. But a new study suggests that older people don’t actually exhibit higher degrees of sadness or anger when compared to other age groups – we just assume they do because of their wrinkles.

Researchers at Penn State University had study participants examine 64 faces and rate them based on the level of emotion they expressed.

The results revealed that participants were far more likely to rate older adults as more angry or sad compared to photos of younger people – despite the fact that all faces exhibited neutral expressions.

Facial wrinkles can cause the mouth to drop and the brows to furrow, features that others may perceive as anger or sadness, said study researcher Carlos Garrido, a doctoral student in social psychology at Penn State University.

Additional research is needed to confirm these findings, but researchers believe the results are not due to stereotypes people may have about the emotional well-being of older adults.

An Argument for Cosmetic Enhancement

This study goes to show that aging men and women who seek out cosmetic procedures like brow lift surgery, laser resurfacing or Botox injections are not simply doing so out of vanity.

Facial aging may actually present risks for older adults –especially in medical settings according to researchers. For instance, a doctor may misperceive an older patient to be in more pain than he or she really is.

If you’re concerned about facial aging, there are a number of cosmetic procedures to choose from that can effectively treat wrinkles and sagging skin around the face and neck.

Early preventative treatments with Botox can help treat wrinkles before they begin to form, while dermal fillers like Restylane can add volume to the face and fill in noticeable creases around the eyes, mouth and forehead.

Image Credit: Flickr

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