Date Published:2016 Mar
Emotional face recognition is impaired in bipolar disorder, but it is not clear whether this is specific for the illness. Here, we investigated how aging and bipolar disorder influence dynamic emotional face recognition. Twenty older adults, 16 bipolar patients, and 20 control subjects performed a dynamic affective facial recognition task and a subsequent rating task. Participants pressed a key as soon as they were able to discriminate whether the neutral face was assuming a happy or angry facial expression and then rated the intensity of each facial expression. Results showed that older adults recognized happy expressions faster, whereas bipolar patients recognized angry expressions faster. Furthermore, both groups rated emotional faces more intensely than did the control subjects. This study is one of the first to compare how aging and clinical conditions influence emotional facial recognition and underlines the need to consider the role of specific and common factors in emotional face recognition.