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Lecture 9

Lecture 9: Ageism and Sexism

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Michael Inzlicht

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Lecture 9: Ageism & Sexism Class overview Ageism  Evidence for ageism  Origin of ageism  Ageist self-stereotypes Sexism  Origin of sexism  Effects of sexism  Ambivalent and Hostile Sexism Curiosities  Course Evaluation period—please complete course evaluation!  Next week is last class!  Review for final in 2nd part of class  Prepare with questions  Bonus reaction papers due next week  April 4th, 5pm; late papers will not be accepted Ageism Ageism: Stereotypes, prejudice, & discrimination based on age  Unlike other “isms”, it is more explicit and easier to see.  Seen in media where there’s preference for younger adults.  It’s a cultural norm (its okay) in our culture to make fun of older people apparently. Facets of Ageism  Although largely applied to older adults, can also apply to the young—juvenile ageism  In terms of maturity, you’re a full adult. Yet there we have rules of what juveniles can and can’t do.  Example of juvenile ageism: in states, an 18yo can enlist in the army BUT can’t drink alcohol.  Importance of studying elderly: Elderly population will double by 2030  Because of this large cohort of people, the amount of people that will be considered elderly will double by 2030  Unlike other prejudices, elderly are out-group that will one day (hopefully!) become in-group  Currently having negative views about the elderly can negatively affect your health and quality of life when you are elderly. What form does ageism take?  Patronizing language – “babying the elderly”  Overaccomodation. Eg) Talking louder to an elderly, despite him/her having perfect hearing.  Baby talk  Patronizing behaviour  Infantalization – eg) when a perfectly capable elderly is walked across the street by a boy scout.  Condescending treatment  Assumption of physical and mental deterioration – with the way everyone treats an elderly person, they may start to believe that they are physically and mentally deteriorating. This belief will then cause them to become less physically and mentally capable. Perdue & Gurtman, 1990  Ageism:  Do people have negative associations with elderly?  If so, are these associations implicit/automatic?  Method:  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)  Evaluative Priming Task  Old is primed for 55ms and then selfish is presented.  The faster you are to categ a word as bad if it follows the priming world “old”  Young is primed for 55ms (a good thing). Since selfish is opposite of good, you should be slower to identify it as good or bad.  RT to positive and negative traits as a function of the priming word   They think young things are good.  Reaction time is longer when negative traits followed a young prime  RT is faster when negative traits followed Old prime  RT is faster when positive trait followed young prime  RT time is longer when positive trait followed Old prime  Results:  Negative words are more associated with old than with young  Positive words are less associated with old than with young  BUT:  Is this out-group bias?  What does this have to do with people? I-clicker: which of the following are problems with the Gurtman et al. study on implicit attitudes towards the elderly?  Answer: Results may not generalize to social evaluations Origins of ageism  Societal age grading  There were distinct categories of which age you would hang out with when you were younger (e.g. gr 5 never hung out with gr. 1)  Age is salient in our society  Dominance of youth culture  A lot of marketing and ads are geared towards younger people.  Media. Examples of ageism in media:  Ad stating “after a few days on the trail, you’ll begin to admire her beauty”  The implicit joke is that the model is not attractive bc she is old.  Ad for lighting shows an old person under normal lights vs a younger person under club lights  Relates young with better lighting.  Ad for Trebbianno hand bags, “Seen enough old bags? Try a new bag”  Fear of Death, thus we’re exhibit ageism Psych’s Terror Management theory  We will all die! But we don’t want to face this. Thus, we deny mortality.  No one wants to think about this eventuality. Older people are reminders of this. Since we don’t want to be reminded of this future death, we create some sort of cognitive dissonance with them.  3min30s  watch! It’s really funny  it’s funny because we all know we are going to die yet he is explicitly denying it here. Martens et al., 2004 1. Given instinct for self-preservation, people want to deny death or reminders of death 2. People find elderly threatening because they are reminders of own death 3. Elderly out-group bias (ageism) is product of this mortality salience Ageist self-stereotypes  Self-stereotype: Internalization of societal beliefs about the traits associated with one’s group  Development of ageist self-stereotypes  Ubiquity of elderly stereotypes (even among children are aware of it)  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  You may have elderly stereotypes, but when you become old, you internalize(believe) those same stereotypes. Effects of ageist self-stereotypes (Levy, 2003; Levy, 2009)  Longitudinal studies show that people (18-49 years) with positive self-perceptions-of-aging. Asked them questions about the quality of life of the elderly. Then looked at them when they were older.  Reported better health up to 20-40 years later when they had positive stereotypes about the elderly.  Fewer heart attacks, strokes, angina, etc.  Those with Positive attitudes about the elderly lived 7.5 years longer  Low cholesterol and exercise improve lifespan by 4 years  Implications  Mental & physical deterioration is not inevitable; can be self-fulfilling  It is a fact that memory does tend to deteriorate with age. Though this occurs farther into one’s life, it is
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