How age-morphed images make Me feel: The role of emotional responses in building support for seniors

A. R. Lee, E. Kim, L. Hon, Y. J. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study examined the role of emotional responses to experiencing age-morphed images in promoting individuals’ attitudes toward seniors and behavioral intentions to support senior-related issues. We investigated whether temporal status (i.e., current vs. future) manipulated by using age-morphing technology and the subject of images (i.e., self vs. other) elicited different emotional responses—personal distress and empathic concern. Drawing on the perspective-taking framework, we tested these emotional responses as an underlying mechanism to explain the seemingly ambivalent effects of age-morphing technology. A laboratory and an online experiment was conducted on different samples: Study 1 on university students and Study 2 on an extended population sample with ages ranging from 21 to 52 years. The findings for Study 1 revealed that university students exhibited a greater level of personal distress when they saw an age-morphed image, which led to unfavorable attitudes toward seniors. The results of Study 2 revealed that, when people saw an age-morphed image of another person, they showed greater empathic concern than when seeing their old future image, which served as a moderated mediator leading to favorable attitudes toward seniors and behavioral and financial support for the senior-related issues. Unlike the finding of Study 1, the increased personal distress led to positive outcomes. In addition, participants exhibited greater empathic concern, which led to a higher level of supportive intentions. The results demonstrated both emotional responses could operate as potential effects of age group, generating different outcomes. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106263
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Age-morphing technology
  • Empathic concern
  • Personal distress
  • Perspective-taking framework
  • Senior-related issue campaigns


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