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Psychology of Prejudice Chapter 6, 7, 8 and 9.pdf

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Michael Inzlicht

CHAPTER 6: EXPERIENCING PREJUDICE • Prejudice originated and was maintained within the majority perceiver of the minority target. • It is a fairly intuitive notion to think that if a perceiver holds prejudice toward a target, and if we want to understand the processesthat lead to the formation, maintenance, and reduction of that prejudice, we need to understand more about that perceiver. • Stereotyping and prejudice are not processesthat involve a perceiver regarding an inactive target of stereotyping. • Rather, stereotyping and prejudice occur in a dynamic social context involving the perceiver and target reacting to each other. • It is a two way street, involving feedback from the target and often confirms the expectations of the perceiver, with the perceiver’s behaviour often then confirming the expectations of the target. SOCIAL STIGMA • Think of being different as a child, how did people perceive you? Negatively? This is why so many people try to fit in with the majority: so they will not be singled out for ridicule or treated negatively by others. • Such treatment is fairly overly among children, who, not having learned socially sophisticated methods of expressing disapproval, will have no compunction about telling everyone and the individual in question about the target’s deficiencies (sometimes entailing laughter, cruel jokes an/or physical hostility). • Among adults, those negative evaluations may take the form of subtle negative comments, rude behaviour, or other subtle expressions of prejudice. • Noted sociologist Erving Goffman referred to the unusual characteristics that engender negative evaluations as being indicators of stigma . The stigmatized person is one who is “reduced in our minds from a whole and usual person to a tainted, discounted one” o Stigmas are characteristics that mark the individual as “deviant, flawed, limited, spoiled or generally undesirable” o The reader will note that stigma encompasses all the more familiar situations where prejudice is shown (i.e. racial, religious, gender, age, sexual orientation), but it also covers any physical, Behavioural, psychological marker that elicits negative evaluation from society. o Goffman denoted three types of stigmas: 1. Abominations of the body (e.g. physical deformities, being overweight, etc.) 2. Blemishes of individual character (e.g. drunkenness) 3. Tribal stigmas of race, nation, and religion (e.g. prejudice against another race). GROUP IDENTIFICATION • Research indicates that individuals faced with external threats show stronger in-group identification o Example: with Jewish persons, African Americans, and women. • Doosje and Ellemers found that people differ in the degree to which they identify with their stigmatized group. • High identifiers are much more likely to associate themselves with their group, even when-especially when-it has a negative image. o High identifiers derive much of their self-esteem from their identification as a group member. They are much more likely to seek collective strategies against group threat. In it for the long run, super loyal. o Low identifiers, are much more likely to dissociate themselves from the group, especially when the group has a negative image. No special affinity toward, or derive no self esteem from, their group Quite prepared to let the group fall apart, when the group is threatened or has a negative image. Low identifiers are thus much more individualistic and opportunistic in that they will only identify themselves with the group when it would positively affect their social identity. STEREOTYPE THREAT • Individuals in stereotyped groups often find themselves ever vigilant about not behaving in ways that confirm stereotypes. • This is the stereotype threat . • It would seem that if you were aware of the stereotype and you decided to behave in ways that disconfirm the stereotype, you would behave in that counter stereotypical fashion, and that would be it. • The anxiety that one feels in thinking about possibly confirming the stereotype can be so debilitation that it actually impairs one’s performance on the stereotype-relevant dimension, thereby having the paradoxical effect of confirming the stereotype. • Research suggests that stereotype threat has its effect through the mediating influence of a drop in working-memory capacity. • Research shows that people under stereotype threat actually fare worse physiologically than their non-threatened counterparts. o Specifically, Black participants in a threatened condition showed significantly higher blood pressure than their non-threatened counterparts. o The researchers suggest that this may help explain the higher incidence of coronary heart disease and high blood pressure among Black persons. • Most of the attention has focused on stereotypes that revolve around intellectual ability and performance. • Statistics on results of standardized aptitude and intelligence tests over the decade suggest that African American consistently average about 15 points les son such measures compared to Caucasians. o Why: Socioeconomic disadvantages that African Americans experience that affect their academic environment, Cultural biases embedded into standardized intelligence tests, and Discrimination and prejudice that they face from others. o However, this does not explain the finding that even when African Americans and Caucasians have the same preparation. o They found that when African American participants believed that a difficult verbal test was a measure of their intellectual ability (compared to those who were not told this), they underperformed compared to Caucasians in the ability-diagnostic condition (intellectual ability) but performed as well as Caucasians in the non-diagnostic condition. o They also found that just making the stereotype salient impaired the performance of African Americans on the task… o Walton and Cohen suggests that this disparity may also be due to what they term “stereotype lift”: that is, non stigmatized persons seem to experience a performance enhancement when they engage in a downward comparison between themselves and a member of a stereotyped outgroup. o Being a member of a stereotyped group can also affect the degree of one’s self-confidence about performance on the stereotype relevant dimension. o Inzlicht and Aronson found that those who were higher in “stereotype vulnerability” (the “tendency to expect, perceive and be influenced by stereotypes about one’s social category”) tended to be the least in touch with the quality of their performances on a stereotype relevant task. • Research for women reveals similar results, implicating the stereotype threat effects. For women, a commonly held stereotype has been that they are less capable in science and math. o Results indicated that when women believed that the exam was diagnostic, they performed poorly compared with their male counterparts. o When women believed it was not diagnostic, they performed as well as the other male participants. o Simply completely a math test in a group in which she is the sole woman (with two other men) seems to make salient the stereotype of women’s poor math performance, and women in these situations do indeed perform poorly compared with women completing a math test in a group of two other women. • In addition to examining race and gender, researchers have looked at the stereotype threat attached to being older and to being poor. • Some investigators have found a stereotype threat effect in Whites who take the Implicit Association Test (thus, a finding of a preference for White) arising from their anxiety about obtaining a score that might indicate that they are racist. • The stereotype threat is not subject to change, however. • However, the ability to be unaffected by stereotype against one’s group becomes much more difficult to the degree that one’s identity is closely tied to membership in that group. • Other research has shown that stereotype-threat effects can be reducing significantly when people from the stereotyped group are individuated (i.e. making one’s own abilities salient, and distancing oneself from the group); in these casesthey outperform their non-individuated counterparts. • One study found that simply reminding women about great achievements that other women had made tended to significantly reduce the stereotype threat on their mathematics test scores. • Cheryan and Bodenhausen examined the influence of salient positive stereotypes on one’s task performance. If the stereotype about your group is that you do especially well on a task, could that stereotype potentially enhanceor impair one’sperformance? o Focused on the stereotype that Asians have a special aptitude for mathematical problems. o Results; when participants ethnic identity was made salient, their math performance was significantly worse than when their personal identity or gender identity was made salient. o Ambady & co found the opposite… When Asian American women had their ethnic identity made salient, they performed better on a math test than when either no identity or their gender was made salient. o Thus, more research is needed to identify the specific additive and individual affects those stereotypes about one’s various in-groups can have on one’s cognitions and behaviours. • On the subject of anti-Asian American prejudice, recent work by Lin, Kwan and Cheun suggests that this prejudice has two major components: o Envy of the (perceived) excessive intellectual competence, o Disdain for their (perceived) low sociability It is the low sociability that primarily drives anti-Asian American prejudice. • The evidence accumulated to date indicates support for the notion that stereotypes about one’s group can impair one’s performance on salient ego-and identity-relevant tasks. • It is important to remember that the results from experiments by Steel and Aronson and others that demonstrate stereotype threat effects do not show that reducing stereotype threat eliminates differences in performance between stereotyped groups and non-stereotyped groups. This only shows the debilitating effects of stereotype threat and in no way should be misinterpreted as suggesting that eliminated stereotype threat therefore eliminates group differences on stereotype-relevant task performance. • Disidentification: individuals engage their identity from the achievement domain in question, such that their self esteem and sense of self competence is preserved and shielded from the negative effects of associating identity with performance on a stereotyped relevant dimension. In practical terms, a woman may disidentify with achievement in science and math, and African Americans may disidentify from academics. The Disidentification process allows the stigmatized to retain their self-esteem. o Triggered by: • Major and Schmader suggest that, by either devaluing the importance of the stereotype—threat domain or discounting the validity and self diagnosticity of outcomes on the stereotype-threat dimension, the stigmatized can psychologically disengage from the stereotype threat dimension and protect their self esteem. o Pursue achievement in academics = “acting white” o Some academics have suggested that African Americans who achieved academic successdid so by adopting behaviors and attitudes that distanced themselves from their culture of origin and that this results in increased depression, anxiety and identity confusion. o There is some evidence to suggest that these processesmay arise in the individual’s early teen years. • Stereotype threat has implications for how one perceives one’s in-group and importantly, one’s relation to the in-group. o According to Tajfel and Turner’s social identity theory (SIT) we derive our identity and self esteem through two avenues. • One is through our own accomplishments, • Other is through our group membership. o SIT suggests that when one belongs to a devalued or threatened group, continued identification with the group threatens one’s self esteem. Threatened individuals may therefore disidentify with their in-group in order to protect their self-esteem. o Lee and Ottai examined how Chinese participants would respond to negative stereotypic threats that are inconsistent or consistent with one’s in-group perceptions. • They found that negative stereotypes that are inconsistent with the in-group stereotype lead in-group members to increase their perceptions of in-group homogeneity or solidarity/unity. That is, participants’ identification with their in-group increased. • However, when participants were exposed to a negative stereotype consistent threat, the participant had a more difficult time denying the validity of the stereotype expression. • Participants were emphasizing more in-group heterogeneity, which may reflect a weakening identification with their in- group as a whole. • Disidentification can be both adaptive and maladaptive. o Disidentification can be viewed as a healthy, effective coping response that allows the individual to protect their self-concept and self-identity against the prejudice, discrimination and disadvantage the stigmatized person my encounter in the stereotype threat domain. o The paradox of Disidentification is that while it saves the self- esteem, it diminishes the individual’s chances for successand achievement in domains that society may regard as important. • There are ways to reduce stereotype threats: o Steels suggest that it is not enough to merely prevent Disidentification of stigmatized students. It is important to simultaneously enhance the individual’s identification with the stereotype-threatened domain. o Steele et al. implemented a program for the reduction of stereotype threat and enhanced domain identification for African American college freshman at the University of Michigan. The researchers used three ways to reduce stereotype threat: • Students were honorifically recruited for the program with an emphasis on their being bright enough to have been admitted to the Uof M (this taps into the domain belonging) • Students participated in weekly seminars to get to know each other and share common problems • Participants attended subject matter workshops that exposed them to advanced material outside the material discuss in class. • Results after 4 years of the program indicated that participants had a GPA about 4/10ths higher than nonprogram peers and they were more likely to finish college. Interviews proved that the program did, in fact, reduce stereotype threat and increase domain identification, leading to better grades. SELF-ESTEEM • Those who are stigmatized quickly become aware of the negative way that many in society view them. • This should have a negative effect on the self-esteem of the stigmatized. • Data is mixed on this issue o Some research concluded that stigmatized persons suffer no damage to their self-esteem, and in some cases, their self-esteem is higher than that of non-stigmatized counterparts. Some studies have actually failed to show decreased self-esteem for groups like African Americans, physically challenges, developmentally disabled or mentally disabled. o Other studies have indicated that some stigmatized individuals do suffer lower self-esteem. • What seems to account for why some stigmatized individuals are able to protect their self esteem and others seem to feel miserable about themselves has much to do with the perceived controllability ( and hence, thejustifiability of the stigma) o Those individuals who believe that their stigmatizing condition is controllable (and thus indicate some personal flaw on their part) may be more likely to feel that negative evaluations of them are justified, and will be more likely to feel lower self esteem. o Those who believe that their stigma is uncontrollable will lead the stigmatized individual to resist the “blame” for the stigma, to attribute negative evaluations to prejudice and to maintain the self- esteem. • A comprehensive meta-analysis of 261 comparisons of self-esteem differences between whites and blacks revealed that blacks tend to have a higher self-esteem than whites . o Gray-Little and Hafdahl further suggest that the reason for the higher self esteem of African Americans lies in the fact that they do not, as had been assumed, base their self worth on the way others view them. o A references group for African Americans is other African Americans, not society. o Page 146 paragraph. Denial of Discrimination • Other research has revealed another way by which stigmatized individuals maintain their self-esteem. • Researchers have found that often, stigmatized persons are able to deny that they have been personally discriminated against, or that they have suffered prejudice, discrimination or other mistreatment related to their stigma. • This denial of personal discrimination has been found in African Americas and women, in addition to other minority groups. • The stigmatized person acknowledges that their group suffers discrimination and prejudice in society but claims that they have not personally had such negative experiences. Such a disconnect (or cognitive distortion) allows the stigmatized person to avoid the uncomfortable reality that the world may not be a just or fair world and that their life may be negatively affected by their stigma. • Making an attribution to discrimination also helps protect one’s self esteem. o However other studies on this says that this attribution causes greater stress and decreased self esteem. • What determines whether a person from the stigmatized group believes that its just discrimination or prejudice? o Major and her colleagues: the degree to which the stigmatized individual believes in an ideology that legitimized existing status differences between groups will influence his/her perceptions of personal communication. • The more an individual does NOT endorse such an ideology and instead believes in individual mobility of group members, the less likely it is that negative behaviour/evaluations from the non-stigmatized individual will be interpreted as instances of discrimination or prejudice. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy • What might explain the process whereby a stigmatized group comes to accept and believe some negative stereotypes about it? o SELF FULFILLING PROPHECY: refers to the phenomenon by which perceiver’s expectations about a target eventually lead that target to behave in ways that confirm those expectations. Thus, some researchers have hypothesized that one reason for the finding that some stigmatize groups view themselves as having a small number of stereotypic, negative characteristics is that he group members have internalized the negative views of the group that the majority members (and to a large extent, society) directly and indirectly communicate to them. o Remember minority groups and social structure. • Faced with the evidence from within and outside the stigmatized group that points to that conclusion, the stigmatized individual may be likely to internalize that stereotype for their group. • However, it is important to note that self-fulfilling prophecies do not occur when the target is aware of the perceiver’s expectations. • Recent research indicated that its effect in maintaining stereotypes and eliciting stereotypic behaviour in stigmatized individuals is limited. • Major and her colleagues suggest four ways the stigmatized can maintain their self esteem i. Attributing the negative evaluations and reactions of others to prejudice ii. Devaluing outcomes on which their group compares poorly with other groups iii. Comparing one’s stigmatize in-group with other stigmatized groups, rather than to non stigmatized groups iv. Psychologically disengaging their self-esteem from feedback in domains in which their group is at a disadvantage. INTERGROUP INTERACTIONS Dynamic Nature of Interactions: • Much research suggests that the typical intergroup interaction is characterized by some anxiety. • The potential causes for the anxiety are different for each member in the intergroup interaction. o For high prejudice majority members, anxiety may reflect their discomfort (sometimes driven by strong negative feelings, such as disgust or anger) with the minority group and their preference to avoid the minority group altogether. The behaviours of the minority group individual in response to the high prejudice majority member are likely to be seen by the latter as supportive evidence for their stereotypes. o For low prejudiced individuals, it is important to distinguish between those who have had many intergroup experiences (they are intergroup skilled) from hose who have had few intergroup interactions (intergroup unskilled). Both groups are highly motivated to indicate to the minority group individual that they are not prejudice. Intergroup skilled majority members have a good idea of how best to present there low prejudice self to the other individual, and they feel little or no anxiety in the interaction. The minority group members are thus less likely to misinterpret the behaviour of the low prejudice majority members as an indicator of underlying prejudice. Low prejudiced intergroup unskilled majority members; Devine and her colleagues suggest that the intergroup context holds the potential for much misunderstanding, because of the different motivations; expectations and perceptions the majority and minority individuals bring to the interaction. Due to little intergroup contact, they do not know what behaviours are appropriate, what might communicate prejudice (unintentionally) This uncertainty leads to anxiety and conveys the wrong message to the minority group. “The majority member is nervous because they re uncomfortable around minorities as a result of feelings of prejudice toward the minority. o Page 150 experiment. • Frable, Blackstone and Scherbaum found that whether one’s stigma is visible or invisible makes a big difference in that person’s interaction with a non-stigmatized person. o Individuals with invisible stigmas were more likely to take their partner’s perspective, to remember what occurred in the interaction and to remember details about what the partner said. o Those with visible stigmas were much less likely to remember the interaction details, though they remembered details about the partner’s appearance and the room. o Frable suggests that invisible deviants need to pay close attention to all information that might be relevant to exposing their condition. o Those with visible stigmas have a “spoiled identity” and are engaged in a kind of damage control in that they are more vigilant about non-verbal behaviour in an effort to ascertain the true attitude of the non-stigmatized person toward their stigmatized group. o The non-stigmatized individuals never remembered their partner’s contribution and claimed to dislike their partner. o If you enter a social interaction expecting it to go poorly, it is likely to turn out poorly. The lack of intergroup experience can lead to anxiety about the intergroup interaction (blacks more exposed to whites, than whites exposed to blacks). o The more anxiety one feels, the more one is likely to perceive the reaction of an interaction partner to oneself as more negative. o Page 151 Expectations • Another factor that fuels the negative expectancies for the intergroup interaction is the notion that the majority and minority have different perspectives from which they approach an understanding of the world. • Narratives: new stories • Counter narratives: black history. Intergroup anxiety • Hyder and Swim expected that, because White American women likely did not have as much intergroup experience, they would feel more negative effect than African American subjects. But this hypothesis was not supported. Also whether the subject was the sole rep of her ethnic group did not influence her reactions to the intergroup encounter. • Results did indicate that white American women showed decreased task attention. Metastereotypes • Sigelman and Tuch introduced the term Metastereotypes to refer to one’s perceptions of another group’s stereotypes of ones group. For example, what do whites believes that blacks believe about whites? • If minorities share a common experience in their stigmatizing at the hands of the majority, it seems logical that the majority might have a common view of how the minority group views them. • We know relatively little about the perceptions of minorities of the majority members and little to nothing about their Metastereotypes. • Sigelman and Tuch – did a survey found that o 2/3s of the Black participants in the survey indicated that they believed that Whites endorses every stereotype about Blacks o Not surprising, because found that most whites in the survey did, in fact, view blacks in very stereotyped terms o Thus the Metastereotypes of the black participants was accurate. o It seems that those who have more contact with whites are least likely to believe that Whites hold positive views of Blacks. ATTRIBUTAL AMBIGUITY • Does some internal force or stable characteristics about the individual or a situational force cause it? • There is a difference between the stigmatized and nonstigimatized, in terms of their daily experiences in understanding the causes of others’ behavior toward them. o Most of the time, for most nonstigimatized individuals, this task is fairly straightforward: other people behave toward them based on the personality or performance of the nonstigimatized individual. o Stigmatized individuals, face a different set of circumstances; they are confronted with another possible causal explanation: others’ reaction (often based on stereotypes and prejudices) to their stigma. • Is it my personality or is it cause im brown?ttribution ambiguity. • Major and Crocker suggest that the chronic uncertainty that the stigmatized experience regarding the causes of others’ behavior toward them has important consequences for the self-esteem, mood, motivation, and interpersonal behavior of the stigmatized. • For many stigmatized people, self-esteem can be protected by regarding the negative behavior of others toward them as a reflection of underlying prejudice, and not as a consequence of their personal traits. • Does the stigmatized person actually have the ability and motivation to be non stereotyped? The intent? • Kleck and Strenta experiment: investigated the effects of having negatively valued characteristics on one’s perceptions of an interaction partner. o Allergy, epilepsy or facial scar. o Results: that the participants who were in the negative stigma conditions (scar and epilepsy) believed that their conditions had a strong impact on the behavior of the partner. Those in the allergy condition did not have this believe about their partner. • Kaiser, Major and McCoy found that individuals who are members of a stereotyped group and who are pessimists are more likely to feel more stressed at prejudice intergroup interactions, and they tend to believe they have fewer resources for coping with it. “Guilty until proven innocent” • Optimists report more coping resources and much less stress at perceiving potential prejudice directed toward them. • Several studies have demonstrated that nonstigimatized individuals give more positive ratings to stigmatized individuals in impression formation experiments. Sympathy effect o They may reflect true positive biases of the majority members o They may reflect unconscious distortions of true negative feelings o They may represent conscious distortion of true negative feelings due to social desirability effects. • Carver, Glass and Katz --- white male, black male, white handicap/ bogus pipeline and transcript review. o Results: positive attitudes toward handicapped was truly positive o Positive about the blacks seems to reflect an attempt to cover underlying negative feelings towards Blacks. • RESULTS ABOUT LECTURE EXPERIMENT: o When African American participants received positive feedback, their self-esteem INCREASED when they thought they couldn’t be seen. o When they received positive feedback, their self-esteem DECREASED when they thought they could be seen. o When they received negative feedback their self esteem DECREASED when they thought they couldn’t be seen o When they received negative feedback their self esteem stay NEUTRAL when they were seen. The Paradoxical Effects of Affirmative Action • Affirmative action programs are designed to overcome the effects of past discrimination and current stereotypes and help these underrepresented minorities find good employment in the workplace. • Critics say this is just mere reverse discrimination. charging that they represent an unfair attempt to place preference on minority status above job qualification in hiring decisions. Perceived Controllability of the Stigma • Some stigmas are seen as controllable – homelessness, substance abuse, being over weight • Others are not controllable – race, gender • If a person who has an uncontrollable stigma and is then receiving negative feedback, their self esteem will not be dampened and they will attribute the negative feedback to prejudice • However for those who have controllable stigmas, (1) people will have less sympathy for because the stigma reflects a lack of effort, ability and will. (2) They stigmatized will feel decreased self-esteem and more negative affect. “I don’t blame you for noticing” (3) prejudice towards those who have a controllable stigma is more justified. • CHAPTER 7: AGEISM 25/03/2010 20:28:00 o Butler coined the termageism to refer to stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination based on age. • Typically we refer to stereotyping and prejudice towards old people. • Pro-youth, anti aging. • Easy accessto stereotypes about old people but very limited about young people. WHY AGEISM? • The number of people over age 65 is going to double by the year 2030. Main reason? The baby boomers (those born between 1947 and 1964) are getting older. • Why is it important? o First, ever since the 1945, everyone has focused on the baby boomers because of the unique phenomenon they represent. o Ageism is given its own chapters because of the relative lack of attention it has received from researchers who specialize in the study of stereotyping; social psychologists. o The aging process represents a unique set of factors for researchers in prejudice and stereotyping. DOES AGIEMS REALLY EXIST? • Mixed results. But depends a lot on the way the question is asked. • Remember subcategories: o They are allowed to have a close older friend, and they get to keep their stereotype of older people as a group. o Brewer results: people have a generally negative view of the super ordinate category “older people” but have several subcategories of older people. When one meets an old people, they are organized in terms of the subcategories not the super ordinate category. When cannot place into these subcategories, then super ordinate is default choice. • It appears that people not only think about older people in specific ways but in many specific ways. o Examples of subcategories according to Schmidt and Boland: “despondent” “vulnerable” “nosy neighbours” “recluse” “sage” “perfect grandparents” • OVER ALL, people have a more negative attitude toward older people than toward younger people. People have multiple, often contradictory, views of older people. • People have positive views about specific older people, and negative views about general old people. AGE STEREOTYPES: CONTENT AND USE • Nuessel points out, the fact that US society has far fewer positive terms for older people indicates the presence of a strong individual and institutional ageism. • Butler has distinguished two types of ageism: benign and malignant o Benign ageism : is a subtle type of prejudice that arises out of the conscious and unconscious fears and anxiety one has of growing old o Malignant ageism : is a more pernicious stereotyping process in which older people are regarded as worthless. • One is less likely to seeblatant examples of malignant ageism. Benign ageism is much more common. • Fiske “Americans view older people as warm but incompetent.” POSITIVE ATTITUDES AND POSITIVE STEREOTYPES: • Bell found that in the past, older people were portrayed as stubborn, eccentric, foolish and comical characters. However old people in TV show watched by older people was more smart, admired, powerful etc. • Palmore suggests that such positive stereotypes are indicative of what he feels “positive ageism” which is prejudice and discrimination in favor of the aged. Positive ageism assumes that older people are in need of special care, treatment, or economic assistance. • Essentially any discrimination, special discounts or treatments that are only available to old people is discrimination. • People also think that old people are believed to be kind, happy, wise, dependable, affluent, enjoying more freedom. NO EVIDENCE. • The majority of research evidence suggests that people generally have more negative than positive views of older people and of aging. EFFECTS OF PSEUDOPOSITIVE ATTITUDES Patronizing Language • Two major types of negative communication have been identified by researchers: o Over accommodation: (Kampar) younger individuals become overly polite, speak louder and slower, exaggerate their intonation, have a higher pitch, and talk in simple sentences with elders. This is based on the stereotype that older people have hearing problems, decreasing intellect, and slowed cognitive functioning. Over accommodation also manifests itself in the downplaying of serious thoughts, concerns, and feelings expressed by older people. o Baby talk: (Caporael) baby talk is a “simplified speech register … with high pitch and exaggerated intonation” as the term implies, people often use it to talk to babies (primary baby talk) and adults (secondary baby talk). The only thing different is the content. The exaggerated tone, simplified speech, and high pitch of the talk are virtually identical. In addition to these features (disrespectful, condescending, and humiliating) secondary baby talk is ageist and insulting because it connotes a dependency relationship. This is associated with the stereotype that all old people have deficits in cognitive abilities. Patronizing Behavior • It is the individuals whose signs of physical and mental aging are more severe who are more likely to be noticed and remembered and to confirm stereotypes about old age. • Infantilization , one of the more pernicious stereotypes about older people, is the belief that elders are like children because of their inferior mental and physical ability. • Patronizing behavior and even well intended offers of assistance can have negative consequences for the self-esteem of the older individual. Effects of Pseudo positive Attitudes on Older People • According to Arluke and Levin, Infantilization creates a self fulfilling prophecy in that older people come to accept and believe that they are no longer independent, contributing adults (they must assume a passive, dependent role). • The acceptance of such a role and loss of self-esteem in an older individual occurs gradually over the course of their life as they are continually exposed to society’s subtle and not so subtle Infantilization of older people. • Arluke and Levin argue that by accepting such a role and the childlike behaviour that accompanies such acceptance, older people are face with three negative consequences. o First, the social status of older people is diminished thorough the decrease in responsibility and increased dependency. o Second, when society seeschildlike behavior in an older person, it may feel justified in its use of psychoactive medication, institutionalization, or declarations of legal incompetency. o Finally, the political power of older people is reduce when older people come to believe their ability and impact on society is limited. • Negative self-perception is bad for their health and longevity … those who are positive self-perception live 7.5 years longer. • Anxiety and negative expectancies lead them to suffer performance deficits as a result. • Looking glasses self: most of whom we believe our “Self” is derived from our social interactions and the feedback about our self that others give us. • They judge each other. o Social identity theory – Tajfel: part of one’s self esteem is derived from their group memberships. Much research has shown that it is uncomfortable to have a member of one of those core groups verify negative stereotypes about that group. • They have high self esteem … those who live on their own o Aging affects the self in three ways: First, one develops stable self concept Second, the reduction in the social roles one has, as one gets older reduces the possibility for conflict between various aspects of the self. Third, aging is not a difficult period of working to develop oneself but is a time of simply maintaining one’s self, roles and abilities. o THUS it appears that most older people have very positive self- imaged that are quite resistant to change or damage from others. AGEISM IN THE HELPING PROFESSIONS • Research has shown that counselors, educators and other professionals are just as likely as other individuals to be prejudiced against older people. • More focus on disease management versus prevention. • Treatment for older people by psychologists also shows evidence of stereotypes and ageist views. Many therapists are what Kirshenbaum calls “reluctant therapists” because of many pervasive stereotypes therapists may have about older people. • In their national survey of doctoral-level psychologists, James and Haley found that psychologists continue to rate the psychological prognosis of older individuals as worse than younger clients presenting with the same symptoms. Page 177. ORIGINS OF AGEISM • A contributing factor to stereotyping and prejudice against older people is what Bunzel refers to as gerontophobia . This is defined as an irrational fear, hatred and/or hostility toward older people. It is a fear of one’s own aging and of death. Because people are afraid of aging and death, people displace their fear of death into stereotypes and prejudice toward older people, in an effort to distance themselves from death. Old age= death Age Grading of Society • Age grading: (also called age stratification) of society communicated implicit and explicit implications (i.e. age norms) about behaviours that are expected and appropriate at various ages. I.e. drinking age, driving age, lottery age, marrying age. • Gerontocratic societies: older people are held in the highest respect and hold positions of power and leadership. From Sage to Burden • Older people used to be seen as wise, high social status, power … • The time between 1770 and 1850 heralded a changing attitude toward older people. [With the advance of medicine, people lived longer; the younger society couldn’t deal with so many oldies!] Thus society begins to associate old age with negative qualities and older people became known
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