Effects of age on cross-modal emotion perception

Edyta Monika Hunter, Louise H. Phillips, Sarah E. MacPherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Efficient navigation of our social world depends on the generation, interpretation, and combination of social signals within different sensory systems. However, the influence of healthy adult aging on multisensory integration of emotional stimuli remains poorly explored. This article comprises 2 studies that directly address issues of age differences on cross-modal emotional matching and explicit identification. The first study compared 25 younger adults (19–40 years) and 25 older adults (60–80 years) on their ability to match cross-modal congruent and incongruent emotional stimuli. The second study looked at performance of 20 younger (19–40) and 20 older adults (60–80) on explicit emotion identification when information was presented congruently in faces and voices or only in faces or in voices. In Study 1, older adults performed as well as younger adults on tasks in which congruent auditory and visual emotional information were presented concurrently, but there were age-related differences in matching incongruent cross-modal information. Results from Study 2 indicated that though older adults were impaired at identifying emotions from 1 modality (faces or voices alone), they benefited from congruent multisensory information as age differences were eliminated. The findings are discussed in relation to social, emotional, and cognitive changes with age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-787
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


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