Discriminating Human vs. Stylized Emotional Faces: Recognition Accuracy in Young Children

  • Anna Esposito
  • Maria Teresa Riviello
  • Vincenzo Capuano
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 19)


This paper intends to contribute to the research on the perception of emotion with a case study on the recognition of realistic vs. stylized facial emotional expressions in typical developing three and six-year-old children. In particular, it reports on two perceptual experiments aimed at evaluating children’s ability in identifying human and stylized male and female facial emotional expressions of happiness, anger and surprise. Results show that six-years-old children are able to recognize facial expressions of happiness and anger exploiting stylized as well as realistic human figures, preferring stylized faces for the identification of surprise. Three-year-old children are not able to recognize surprise and are significantly better in recognizing happiness rather than anger, suggesting that the ability to recognize certain emotional faces emerges through experience. In addition, it also suggests that this ability is not affected by face gender.


Facial emotional expression Recognition accuracy Typical developing children 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Esposito
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maria Teresa Riviello
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vincenzo Capuano
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySeconda Università di NapoliCasertaItaly
  2. 2.International Institute for Advanced Scientific Studies (IIASS)Vietri sul MareItaly

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