PSYC12H3S Lecture 9
Ageism & Sexism
Definition: Stereotypes, prejudice, & discrimination based on age
-Ppl relate age for elderly or younger ppl in the intention to discriminate them.
Facets of Ageism
Although largely applied to older adults, can also apply to the young—juvenile ageism
Importance of studying elderly:
Elderly population will double by 2030
Unlike other prejudices, elderly are out-group that will one day (hopefully!) become in-
-Why do we care about elderly? They r special bc they will dominate later in life bc ppl live
longer now. One day we will get old and the elderly will be in group instead right now they r our
out group bc of our age difference.
What form does ageism take?
Assumption of physical and mental deterioration
-Some are considered a very positive thing. Like some ppl tell us to be gently with our elderly
and help them walk across the street and so on.
Perdue & Gurtman, 1990
Do people have negative associations with elderly?
If so, are these associations implicit/automatic?
Evaluative priming task
“Old” vs. “Young” subliminally primed (55 ms)
Positive vs. Negative traits presented after prime
DV: RT to words (faster RT = stronger association)
Negative words are more associated with old than with young Positive words are less associated with old than with young
Is this out-group bias?
What does this have to do with people?
-We see in-group favoritism when we read the data of this study. They use the word old and
young but it is not specify what is old and young bc old can be an old shoe for example. But the
study assumes ppl are think of humans when taking this task.
-Question: Which of the following are problems with the Gurtman et.al study on implicit attitude
towards the elderly? Results may not generalize to social evaluations.
Origins of ageism
Societal age grading
Dominance of youth culture
Fear of Death
-Ppl don’t care how old ppl are anymore. Yong ppl pay less for buses and movies so r seniors.
-Business attract those young ppl bc they r single and start to earn money.
-Very acceptable to make fun of older ppl and that makes them be humorous and make money
like these posters.
-We may have negative feelings of the elderly and that remind us that one day we will get older
as them and die. So they remind us of death.
We will all die!
No one wants to think about this eventuality
-Video: LJ making fun of this old person. Although we will all die we try to repress that thought
since it leads to anxiety and fear that we don’t like to face all the time.
Martens et al., 2004
Given instinct for self-preservation, people want to deny death or reminders of death
People find elderly threatening because they are reminders of own death
Elderly out-group bias (ageism) is product of this mortality salience
-Study: they took some ppl and asked them to complete the words of a sentence, and if the words
u r making up is it a word of death or not. And most ppl made the association of death words with
Self-stereotype: Internalization of societal beliefs about the traits associated with one’s
Development of ageist self-stereotypes
Ubiquity of elderly stereotypes (even among children)
Elderly stereotypes can operate below awareness When young become old, and identify with elderly in-group, the stereotype that
was held for a lifetime becomes self-stereotype
Effects of ageist self-stereotypes (Levy, 2003; Levy, 2009)
Longitudinal studies show that people (18-49 years) with positive self-perceptions-of-
Reported better health up to 20-40 years later
Fewer heart attacks, strokes, angina, etc.
Lived 7.5 years longer
Low cholesterol and exercise improve lifespan by 4 years
Mental & physical deterioration is not inevitable; can be self-fulfilling
People may not be aware of effects of self-stereotypes
-Study: She looked at ppl and measured the belief of the elderly; po