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Lecture 9

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Michael Inzlicht

Lecture 9: Ageism and Sexism Ageism Definition: Stereotypes, prejudice, & discrimination based on age This is a stereotype that isn’t hidden from view – you don’t really have to look for it. Facets of Ageism Although largely applied to older adults, can also apply to the young—juvenile ageism • By 18-20, you’re physically/mentally an adult – but there are still rules about what we can do o USA, you can enlist at 18 but can’t drink until you’re 21 Importance of studying elderly: • Elderly population will double by 2030 Unlike other prejudices, elderly are out-group that will one day (hopefully!) become in- group What Form Does Ageism Take? Patronizing language • Overaccomodation • Baby talk Patronizing behavior • Infantalization • Condescending treatment • Assumption of physical and mental deterioration Purdue & 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) 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? o We might just be applying good things to young because of ingroup bias, not necessarily out-group bias • What does this have to do with people? o It could be done with items, really o It’s not like they’re showing elderly faces iClicker question and answer: What are the 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 • Unitil university, we’re constantly with classes with those who our age – in school, grade 12 wouldn’t associated with a grade 9 • Below and above age discounts on products Dominance of youth culture • Advertisements are geared towards younger people because o May have more disposable income o Get lifelong purchaser Media • Not hard to find jokes about elderly in ads Fear of Death • Scared on elderly because they remind us that we’re closer to death • Create as much psychological distance between us and them Terror Management We will all die! No one wants to think about this eventuality 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 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) • 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- aging • Reported better health up to 20-40 years later o Fewer heart attacks, strokes, angina, etc. • Lived 7.5 years longer o Low cholesterol and exercise improve lifespan by 4 years Implications • Mental & physical deterioration is not inevitable; can be self-fulfilling o It’s going to happen but we can make it worse by dreading it • People may not be aware of effects of self-stereotypes iClicker question and answer: according to
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