Aging and Emotion

High School ・Psychology ・APA ・2 Sources

Purpose of Study, Hypothesis and Theoretical Reason

In the analysis of Leclerc and Kensinger, the thing that stood out was their ability to point out that arousal and valence did not interact. The aim of the study was to investigate "the impacts of valence and arousal on the target detection of participants" (Leclerc and Kensinger, 2008). The research was centered on the participants in the RTs who came from different emotional distraction groups. The study used a visual search paradigm in the assessment of the abilities of young and older adults to rapidly detect emotional information. In one of the hypothesis, the emotional information was hypothesized to continue being significant in the person’s lifespan which leads to the similarly facilitated detection of emotional information among the older and young people.

The other hypothesis noted that the emotional information could take additional significance with aging which results in the enhancement of emotional detection in the older persons. Lastly, the study hypothesized that the older adults will be slower in the detection of information compared to young individuals. The hypothesis drove at answering the question for the similarity or divergences in the facilitation effects regarding the impact of emotion on the decision. Theoretically, Leclerc & Kensinger (2008) assert that the existing literature holds that the hypothesis is typically more plausible. The reason owes to the thought of positivity effect in the later phases of processing and not in the early stages that are encompassed in the rapid information detection. Therefore, the hypotheses maintain their significance across the emotional information or lifespan and taking huge importance with age factor which seems to be especially applicable to the early stages of the information processing.

Findings of the Study

An ANOVA analysis did show a significant influence of arousal painting a huge difference between the high arousal images and neutral. The high arousal items process information rapidly “across the age groups compared to the low arousal items” (Mather & Ponzio, 2016). The study noted that there was no significant effect for valence and no interaction between arousal and valence. Crucially, the analysis presented an effect of age and without interactions with age. Therefore, “the arousal-mediated effects on detection time appeared stable in young and older adults” (Leclerc & Kensinger, 2008). The whole emotional categories of the targets offer to have a rapid detection for the older adults compared to the neutral targets. The results found to be forming the study imply that older adults could be able to indicate wider advantages for detection to any given type of emotional information.

Validity Limitation

The research was faced with the limitation of experimenter expectancy as the internal validity limitation. Under this, the participants of the study were influenced by the expectation of the experimenter. It is evident that the responses were particularly shaped in the direction of finding the emotional information detection of the older adults and not the young adults. However, the effects were unintentional to the researchers (Mather & Ponzio, 2016). The external validity limitation arose from the interaction of the study context or setting and the condition of the experiment. The findings that are obtained from the study cannot be used in the generalization of the entire population due to limitations of setting and context (Mather & Ponzio, 2016). For instance, this research was carried out based on Boston College and the finding particularly relates to the College. The study did not incorporate various research setting and context that would help to generalize the findings in other places such as a hospital.


Leclerc, C., & Kensinger, E. (2008). Effects of age on detection of emotional information. Psychology And Aging,23(1), 209-215.

Mather, M & Ponzio, A. (2016). Emotion and Aging. In L. Feldman Barrett, M. Lewis & J.M. Haviland-Jones (Eds), Handbook of Emotions, 4th ed. (pp. 319-335). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

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