Adult aging, processing style, and the perception of biological motion

Pauline M. Insch*, Rebecca Bull, Louise H. Phillips, Roy Allen, Gillian Slessor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Study Context: Social perception may be influenced by the extent to which individuals focus on global, rather than local, detail-based, processing of information about others. Here the authors investigated whether global processing biases relate to successful detection of actions and emotions from point-light biological motion (BM) stimuli. Also explored is whether age differences in BM perception and global-local processing biases are related. Methods: One hundred and twenty-seven participants (aged 18 to 86) completed tasks assessing BM perception and global-local processing. Results: Successful decoding of actions and emotions from BM stimuli was correlated with global processing bias. Older adults performed more poorly on BM decoding and had a local processing bias. However, age differences in global-local processing could not fully explain differences in decoding actions or emotions from point-light displays. Conclusion: Therefore, although there was an association between age, perceptual processing bias, and detection of BM, other factors must be important in explaining age-related change in social perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-185
Number of pages17
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


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