Loved ones stay attuned to spouse's emotions - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Loved ones stay attuned to spouse's emotions

Updated: Sep 14, 2013 09:28 AM
© Hemera / Thinkstock © Hemera / Thinkstock

SATURDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults are less able to read emotions on their partner's face, but they do not lose the ability to make judgments about their spouse's emotions based on knowledge gained during their years together, according to a new study.

"When judging others' emotions in real life, people do not exclusively rely on emotional expressions," explained the study's lead researcher, Antje Rauers of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany. "Instead, they use additional information, such as accumulated knowledge about a given situation and a particular person."

The study, released online in advance of print publication in the journal Psychological Science, involved 100 couples. Some were between 20 and 30 years old, while others were between 69 and 80 years old. The participants were first asked to identify specific emotions on various faces.

"We started by replicating past research, showing that older adults are typically worse than younger adults at interpreting emotions through facial expressions," Rauers noted in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science.

The couples were then asked to use their cellphone to record their own emotions as well as the feelings of their partner six times a day over the course of two weeks.

Sometimes, couples were together so they could see each other's facial expressions. The couples were often apart during the day, however, and had to estimate how their spouse felt at that particular moment.

The study showed the older couples were less able to read their partner's facial expressions than the younger couples. But the researchers noted there were no age differences in how well the couples estimated how their partner felt when they were not together. They concluded some brain processes linked to understanding and empathy between couples remain stable with age.

"Reading emotional expressions may become more difficult with age, but using one's knowledge about a familiar person remains a reliable strategy throughout adulthood," Rauers said in the news release.

"This is really good news, given that the overwhelming majority of research findings testifies an age-related decline in many competencies," Rauers said. "Our data suggest that knowing your loved ones well is an important resource that stays available throughout life."

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about the aging brain.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • 6 hurt when truck hits Dairy Queen near Pittsburgh

    6 hurt when truck hits Dairy Queen near Pittsburgh

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:01 AM EDT2014-07-25 05:01:26 GMT
    PITTSBURGH (AP) - Authorities say six people were injured and a gas line was damaged after a truck crashed into a Dairy Queen in suburban Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the incident occurred shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday in Penn Hills. A witness tells the newspaper that she was able to help an employee get out through a window after a cash register fell onto her. That employee, the manager and four men in the truck were taken to hospitals. The newspaper says firefighters secur...More >>
    PITTSBURGH (AP) - Authorities say six people were injured and a gas line was damaged after a truck crashed into a Dairy Queen in suburban Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the incident occurred shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday in Penn Hills. A witness tells the newspaper that she was able to help an employee get out through a window after a cash register fell onto her. That employee, the manager and four men in the truck were taken to hospitals. The newspaper says firefighters secur...More >>
  • UPDATED

    Ohio State marching band director fired

    Ohio State marching band director fired

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:49 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:49:54 GMT
    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues," some involving rituals where students were pressured to march in their underwear or participate in sexually themed stunts.More >>
    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues," some involving rituals where students were pressured to march in their underwear or participate in sexually themed stunts.More >>
  • Witness: Teen's plane didn't show obvious distress

    Witness: Teen's plane didn't show obvious distress

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:38:16 GMT
    The family of an Indiana teenager who crashed in the Pacific Ocean during an around-the-world flight says he knew the risks and had prepared for them.More >>
    A man who saw a plane flown by an Indiana teen who was killed during an around-the-world flight attempt says the aircraft was flying low but didn't show any obvious signs of distress before diving into the ocean off...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms