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Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Ageism

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Michael Inzlicht

C12: Prejudice Chapter 7: Ageism Ageism: refers to stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination based on age Society tends to be pro-youth and anti-aging Both young and old people seem to have easy access to stereotypes about aging, but access about the young appears to be more limited WHY AGEISM (AND WHAT ABOUT OTHER ISMS?) WW2 baby boomers are nearing retirement and old age and society is responding to their needs. As they enter their golden years, society is moving (w/ mixed success) to address the issues and concerns of older baby boomers. They represent a unique phenomenon Gauge what society as a whole ought to be concerned with at any given time Society essentially changes with them Relative lack of attention Textbooks dont really describe aging process in detail, or when it is its inaccurate or condescending Aging process represents a unique set of factors w/ aging, you eventually go from being an outgroup (the young) become part of the ingroup (the elderly) DOES AGEISM REALLY EXIST? Mixed results saying that its not a valid, reliable phenomenon vs. opposite ideal. However this is a big part of conundrum (mystery) due to subtyping. Approaches in dealing with the issue of how to measure ageism have asked individuals to indicate their attitudes toward other people in general. Results = more often very positive attitudes about the elderly Stereotypes are wonderfully fast cognitive mechanisms; allow great speed and efficiency (not always accurate) in processing of info and impressions. Ppl are cognitive misers which are often reluctant to abandon stereotypes bc they require little effort and quick. When faced with cog dissonance of having a negative attitude btwn both ideas they may be inclined to create a subcategory allowing for the best of both worlds Ppl generally have negative view of super ordinate category older ppl but have several subcategories of older ppl When one encounters an elderly individual, info tends to be organized in terms of subcategories not according to super ordinate age category (age does influence how we perceive others) When we dont have further specific info that allows us to place the ind into a subcategory, superordinate category used as a default Ppl think about elderly in many specific ways; there was a mixture of negative and positive subcategories - Twice as more negative than positive Negative subcategories included despondent, impaired, vulnerable etc 1 www.notesolution.com Overall, people have more negative attitude towards elderly, this must be qualified with the strong evidence for t he idea that ppl have multiple, often contradictory views. It depends on how the attitude is solicited. Ppl have mostly positive views of specific older persons but more negative, stereotyped views of older ppl as a group (more negative subcategories) AGE STEREOTYPES: CONTENT AND USE US has fewer positive terms for the elderly which indicates the presence of a strong individual and institutional ageism 2 Kinds of Ageism : Benign ageism: subtle type that arises out of conscious and unconscious fears and anx one has of growing old More common Malignant ageism: pernicious stereotype in which elderly are regarded as worthless Similar to old fashioned racism; Blatant forms In US, old age perceived as being synonymous with decline and loss of physical and mental capacities ie being tired, slow, ill, forgetful, uninformed, isolated, and unproductive Viewed as warm but incompetent Perceptions -> treating with pity not respect Ageism is one of the most unnoticed and socially condoned forms of prej Fostered by focus on youth and characteristics of youth Media portrays message that being old is undesirable POSITIVE ATTITUDES AND POSITIVE STEREOTYPES Media portrayals of elderly have changed in positive ways over the decades, from stubborn, eccentric, foolish and comical...to active, admired, powerful, affluent, and sexy Positive stereotypes of older ppl are improvements that help to reversal negative stereotypes of elderly Positive stereotypes are indicative of positive ageism: prejudice and discrimination in favour of .aged It assumes that elderly are in need of special care, treatment, or economic assistance b/c elderly are better off medically and economically now that in the past, special programs and policies should be made available to ppl of all ages o b/c constitutes age racism Common positive stereotypes of the elderly include: kind, happy, wise, dependable, affluent, politically powerful, enjoying freedom, try to retain youth reality is that elderly are as likely as younger ppl to have such characteristics well intentioned, positive stereotypes (pseudopositive attitudes) -> can lead to patronizing language and bhvr toward elderly and a loss of self esteem in them EFFECTS OF PSEUDOPOSITIVE ATTITUDES Patronizing Language 2 www.notesolution.comPpl w/ very positive attitudes toward older ppl often communicate with elderly according to negative stereotypes about elderly. Types of negative communication: 1 -Overaccommodation: younger indiv. become overly polite, speaking louder and slowly, exaggerate intonation, higher pitch, and talk in simple sentences o Based on stereotype that elderly have hearing problems, depressing intellect and slower cog functioning o Downplay serious thoughts, concerns and feelings expressed by elderly o Triggered by age 2- Baby talk: simplified speech with higher pitch and exaggerated intonation o More condescending form of overaccommodation o Primary baby talk: used to talk to babies o Secondary baby talk: used to talk to pets, inanimate objects and adults o Distinguishing factor bw primary + secondary talk is content o Elderly with lower functional abilities prefer secondary baby talk b/c it conveys a soothing nurturing quality Vs those with higher cog ability find it disrespectful, condescending and humiliating Ageist and insulting b/c it connotes a dependency relationship Associated w/ st that all elderly have deficits in cog abilities therefore require special communication at slower, simpler level Universal in small and modern industrialized cities Patronizing Behaviour Appe
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