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Michael Inzlicht

LECTURE 9: AGEISM & SEXISM AGEISM Ageism- stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination based on age Facets of Ageism - Although largely applied to older adults, can also apply to the young—juvenile ageism - Importance of studying elderly: o Elderly population will double by 2030 - Unlike other prejudices, elderly people are the out-group that will one day (hopefully!) become in-group. We see old people as the out-group, but we all will eventually become old people and become our in-group. So we are stereotyping this out-group, which will one day apply to you. What Form Does Ageism Take? - Patronizing language o Over-accommodation- going out of your way to speak or act a certain way o Baby talk - Patronizing behavior o Infantalization – the belief that elders are like children because of their inferior mental and physical ability o Condescending treatment o Assumption of physical and mental deterioration Perdue & Gurtman (1990) - Ageism: o Do people have negative associations with elderly? o If so, are these associations implicit/ automatic? - Method: o Evaluative priming task of students o ―Old‖ vs. ―Young‖ subliminally primed (55 ms) o Positive vs. Negative traits presented after prime o DV: RT to words (faster RT = stronger association) o Ex. Old + selfish; young + selfish Reaction time to positive and negative traits as a function of the priming word 1100 1080 1060 Negative Traits 1040 Positive Traits 1020 1000 980 Old Young Reaction Time (ms) Priming Word - Results: o Negative words are more associated with old than with young o Positive words are less associated with old than with young - BUT: o Is this out-group bias?  The results can come from REALLY liking the in-group, or just disliking the out-group; mostly in-group love. Which of the following are problems with the Gurtman et al. study on implicit attitude towards the elderly? a) The authors didn’t measure explicit attitudes b) The results showed in-group bias c) Results may not generalize to social evaluations d) The authors measured implicit attitudes Answer: C - more correct than B because in group bias is not a problem because it is just a facet of prejudice and discrimination; not generalizing is a problem because they didn’t examine old people, they examined the evaluations to the words young and old. Origins of Ageism - Societal Age Grading- we (generally) associate with our own age group or older throughout our life until the workplace - Dominance of youth culture- markets appeal to the youth because they are the future consumer - Media- old is unattractive in our culture so they are poked fun at - Fear of death- maybe we have biases against old people because they remind us of death o Terror management:  We will all die!  No one wants to think about this eventuality  Disliking old people gives us a psychological distance from them/death which makes us feel better and protect us about thoughts from our impending doom Martens et al. (2004) - Given instinct for self-preservation, people want to deny death or reminders of death; so ppl try to distance them from themselves - 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; believing in the STs about one’s group o Ex. For the ST that woman are not good at math and science: a women will self-ST if she believes the ST herself; because of this she may avoid/under perform in math and science - Development of ageist self-stereotypes o Ubiquity (high availability) of elderly stereotypes (even among children) o Elderly stereotypes can operate below awareness o When young become old, and identify with elderly in-group, the stereotype that was held for a lifetime becomes a self-stereotype and apply to yourself Effects of ageist self-stereotypes (Levy, 2003; Levy, 2009) - Longitudinal (follow people over time) studies show that people (18-49 years) with positive self-perceptions-of-aging o Reported better health up to 20-40 years later  Fewer heart attacks, strokes, angina, etc. o Lived 7.5 years longer if they had positive STs of aging vs. negative STs of aging - Low cholesterol and exercise improve lifespan by 4 years - Implications: o Mental & physical deterioration is not inevitable; can be self-fulfilling  Can be self fulfilling because there is NO GUARANTEE that you are going to have memory loss or diseases, BUT if you have a negative attitude about aging, you may do things that may deteriorate yourself without even being aware of it (mind over matter). If you have a positive attitude, you will exercise and contribute forgetfulness on distractions or other reasons other than getting old, and may contribute to a longer life. o People may not be aware of effects of self-stereotypes According to research on ageist self-STs: a) Mental deterioration is inevitable b) Self-STs can be self-fulfilling c) Age STs are always explicit d) Age STs are relatively unknown e) People with positive age STs live just as long as people with negative STs ANS: B SEXISM - Sexism- Negative attitudes, prejudice, or discrimination directed toward someone on the
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