CHAPTER 6: EXPERIENCING PREJUDICE
• Prejudice originated and was maintained within the majority perceiver of the
• 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
• 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.
• 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
• Among adults, those negative evaluations may take the form of subtle
negative comments, rude behaviour, or other subtle expressions of
• 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”
www.notesolution.com 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
o Goffman denoted three types of stigmas:
1. Abominations of the body (e.g. physical deformities, being
2. Blemishes of individual character (e.g. drunkenness)
3. Tribal stigmas of race, nation, and religion (e.g. prejudice
against another race).
• 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,
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.
• Individuals in stereotyped groups often find themselves ever vigilant
about not behaving in ways that confirm stereotypes.
www.notesolution.com • 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
o The researchers suggest that this may help explain the higher
incidence of coronary heart disease and high blood pressure among
• 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.
Socioeconomic disadvantages that African Americans
experience that affect their academic environment,
Cultural biases embedded into standardized intelligence
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.
www.notesolution.com 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
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
o Being a member of a stereotyped group can also affect the degree of
one’s self-confidence about performance on the stereotype relevant
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
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.
www.notesolution.com • 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
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
www.notesolution.com It is the low sociability that primarily drives anti-Asian
• 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
• 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
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
o There is some evidence to suggest that these processesmay arise in
the individual’s early teen years.
www.notesolution.com • 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
• 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
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:
www.notesolution.com 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
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
• 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.
• 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.
www.notesolution.com • 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-
• 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
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
• This denial of personal discrimination has been found in African Americas
and women, in addition to other minority groups.
www.notesolution.com • 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
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
• 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
• 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.
www.notesolution.com • 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
ii. Devaluing outcomes on which their group compares poorly with other
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.
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
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
www.notesolution.com 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
The minority group members are thus less likely to
misinterpret the behaviour of the low prejudice
majority members as an indicator of underlying
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
www.notesolution.com 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
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
• 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.
• 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
• 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.
www.notesolution.com • 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.
• 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
o Allergy, epilepsy or facial scar.
www.notesolution.com 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
• 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.
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
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
www.notesolution.com • 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.
www.notesolution.com 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
• 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
• 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:
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
• 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”
www.notesolution.com • 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
• 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
• Two major types of negative communication have been identified by
www.notesolution.com 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
Over accommodation also manifests itself in the downplaying
of serious thoughts, concerns, and feelings expressed by older
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
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.
• 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,
www.notesolution.com • 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.
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
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
www.notesolution.com • Research has shown that counselors, educators and other professionals
are just as likely as other individuals to be prejudiced against older
• 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