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Chapter 6

PSYC12 NELSON Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9 FINAL EXAM NOTES

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC51H3
Professor
Catherine Nash
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 6: Experiencing Prejudice • To understand the formation, maintenance and reduction of prejudice, research has looked at the scenario from the perceiver’s point of view • Personality characteristic foster prejudice; various affective states, experiences, cognitive capacities and motivational deficits lead to increased resilience in stereotypes • Stereotyping sand prejudice occur in a dynamic social context with the perceiver and target reacting to each other • This chapter looks at stereotyping from the target’s point of view and the various factors involved SOCIAL STIGMA • It is likely that we have all been unusual at some point in our life (e.g. leg brace etc.) • During this point, treatment from other was probably not positive and made you feel negative about yourself and others • To avoid being singled out for ridicule or being treated negatively by others, people try to fit in with the majority; this is common in children who haven’t learned socially sophisticated methods of expressing disapproval, they have no hesitation in telling others about the targets deficiencies; may occur in adults in the form of negative comments, rude behaviours or other subtle expressions of prejudice • For some, these “unusual aspects” are temporary (e.g. acne) and for others they are life long and something the they receive negative evaluations for the rest of their lives • STIGMA: the unusual characteristics that cause negative evaluations; characteristics that mark one as deviant, flawe3d, limited, spoiled or generally undesirable • A stigmatized person is one who is reduced in our minds from the whole and usual person to a tainted and discounted one • Stigmas encompass more familiar situations where prejudice is shown (i.e. racial, religion etc.) but it also covers any physical, behavioural, psychological marker that elicits negative evaluation from society • Goffman’s 3 stigma types: abominations of the body (e.g. overweight), blemishes of individual character (e.g. drunkenness) and tribal stigmas of race, nation and religion • Little is known about experiences of the stigmatized person and how stigmatized and non-stigmatized people regard each other in social interactions GROUP IDENTIFICATION • Individuals faced with external threats show stronger in-group identification; shown with Jews, Blacks and Women • Level of identification with group determines amount of dissociation with the group • When the group has negative image: high identifier are likely to associate with the group (derive self-esteem from identification) and low identifiers are likely to dissociate from the group (no affinity or self-esteem from group, prepared to let group fall apart; they are individualistic and opportunistic as they will only identify with the group if it positively affects their social identity) STEREOTYPE THREAT • Stereotyped individuals are consciously aware about behaving in ways that confirm stereotypes about one’s group as doing so would legitimize the view thus they engage in performance-limiting behaviours (e.g. practicing or studying less) to provide themselves with an excuse for the stereotype-relevant dimension; this is referred to as STEREOTYPE THREAT • An attempt to act anti-stereotypical, leading to anxiety about confirming the stereotype and drop in working memory capacity, can be debilitating for the performance and may paradoxically confirm the stereotype • Stereotype threat likely in individuals who strongly identify with group in which stereotype exist and those who are conscious about their stigmatized status • Stereotypes individuals fare physiologically worse than non-threatened counterparts (higher blood pressure in threatened black compared to non-threatened ones; might explain higher coronary heart disease and blood pressure in black people) • Common black stereotype is that they have low intellectual ability; statistics support this as black perform about 15 worse than Caucasians on standardized aptitude and intelligence tests • Possible reasons are socioeconomic disadvantage, cultural bias on test and discrimination but effects remained when both groups have the same preparation; stereotype threat may account for this as black who were told that the verbal test was measure of their intellectual ability performed worse than those told otherwise (non- diagnostic condition); making stereotype salient impaired performance on the non- diagnostic condition as well • STEREOTYPE LIFT: performance enhancement in non-stigmatized groups, when they compared to the stigmatized out-group, which leads to performance differences • Individuals with high stereotype vulnerability (tendency to be influenced and to conform to stereotype) had hindered and inaccurate performance on stereotype relevant tasks and this led to stronger fluctuations in the academic self-confidence • Similarly, stereotype threat has been shown in women who have been commonly believed to be less capable in science and mathematics (worse on than males in diagnostic condition and equally in non-diagnostic condition); single women completing tests in groups of males perform worse because the stereotype is made salient (compared to when in groups of two or three females) • Seen in different age and socioeconomic categories as well; poor perform worse than rich in diagnostic test (believe might confirm stereotype that they perform worse on intellectual ability test compared to rich) and equally on non-diagnostic test • Also seen in white taking IAT (anxiety about obtaining score that indicates that they are racist) • Stereotype threat isn’t subject to change; when participants told about study characteristics and that the particular stereotype under study was malleable, performance had positively benefitted • Harder to be unaffected by stereotype when individual is closely tied to membership in that group; stereotype effects can be reduced when people are individuated from the group (making own performances salient); women reminded of other women’s accomplishment had reduced stereotype threat • Do positive stereotypes enhance performance? With regards to the stereotype that Asians had special aptitude for math tests, one study found that Asians performed worse when Asian women’s ethnicity was made salient, compared to when personal identity or general identity was made salient; another study found that they performed better when ethinic identity was made salient; more research needed • Asian American Prejudice- prejudice has 2 components; envy of the (perceived) excessive intellectual competence, and disdain for the (perceived) low sociability; the stereotype competence model says prejudice and stereotype can be located along two dimensions: competence and warmth (lots of studies published on this, led to discovery of various stereotypes) • Stereotypes about one’s group can impair one’s performance on salient ego and identity relevant tasks; stereotype threatened individuals are motivated to do well but are unsuccessful because their attention is split between assessment of correct answers to task and that performance may confirm stereotype • Reducing stereotype threat does not necessarily eliminate differences in performance between stereotyped and non-stereotyped groups (achieve less regardless of condition) • DISIDENTIFICATION: individuals disengage their identity from 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 stereotype-relevant dimension; allows the stigmatized to retain self-esteem • African Americans show self-esteem as high or higher than Americans • Stigmatized are more likely to show disidentification and are less likely to see stereotype threat dimension as unimportant (e.g. education); disidentified stigmatized people agree that stereotype threat is important but that it’s not important for them and their self- identity • Causes of disidentification: o Devaluing of the stereotype threat domain o Discounting the validity and self-diagnosticity of outcomes on the stereotyped dimension, the stigmatized can psychologically disengage from the stereotype threat domain and protect their self-esteem • Some say blacks who did well in academics did so by adopting behaviours and attitudes that distanced themselves from their origin/culture and resulted in increased depression, anxiety and identity confusion (compared to peers who weren’t as academically successful) o Not always the case, both high and low achieving black are likely to negatively evaluate and psychologically distance themselves from their racial group when they believed that their group was negatively evaluated by others o Paradoxically, achieving academic success can have psychological consequences for blacks • Problems may arise in teens: blacks self-esteem and academic performance correlated strongly until 8 grade, after which something happens to weaken their identification • Women under stronger stereotyping threat in math tended to disidentify more with math careers than women under weak stereotype threat • We derive our identity through our accomplishments and through our group membership; belonging to a threatened or devalued group may threaten our self-esteem thus we may disidentify with the group to protect our self-esteem • Chinese participants: hearing stereotype inconsistent with one’s ingroup perceptions increased perception of ingroup homogeneity (increased identification with group); stereotypes consistent with ingroup perceptions caused perceptions of ingroup heterogeneity (saying each member is unique-weakening identification with ingroup) • Continued exposure to stereotype threat may lead individuals to chronically disengage psychologically from stereotype threat dimension: an healthy effective coping response allowing individual to protect self-identity; bad because decreases chances of success in domains society may regard as important • Reduce stereotype threat: enhance individual’s identification with stereotype threat domain, jigsaw classrooms, optimistic student-teacher relationships, challenge instead of re-meditation, stressing that intelligence is expandable, affirming domain belonging, valuing multiple perspectives, having visible successful role models and building self- efficacy o Study on black freshman at university of Michigan: 3 ways to reduce stereotype; honorifically recruited for program (emphasis on being bright enough to admitted), weekly seminars to get to know each other and share problems, lastly, attending subject matter workshops that exposed them to advance material not discussed in class; after 4 years of induction, students had GPA 4/10 higher than non-program peers Self-Esteem • Apparently stigmatized people suffer no damage to their self-esteem (self-esteem may even higher than non-stigmatized counterparts) shown in blacks, physically, mentally or developmentally challenged individuals • Other studies say stigmatized individuals do suffer lower self-esteem • Difference due to perceived controllability/justifiability of stigma (if you feel stigmatized domain is controllable you feel negative evaluation, vice versa) • Many meta-analysis studies have shown that black have higher self-esteem than Caucasians, by embracing distinctiveness and their positive ethnic/racial identity (some believe their self-worth isn’t based on others views of them) • Inconsistency because of the way researchers conceptualized and measured self- esteem as a stable aspect of personality, it is more accurate to conceptualize self- esteem as a kind of working model (determined by situational, motivational and interpersonal factors etc.) Denial of Discrimination • Denial of fact that they have been discriminated, prejudiced may allow individuals to maintain self-esteem (found in black, women and many minority groups); they understand that their groups suffers discrimination but that they personally haven’t had any experiences (adaptive way to think cause no negative psychological, emotion or adjustment consequences) • Attribution to discrimination may help protect self-esteem but at the cost of greater stress responses and decreased self-esteem • The more an individual does not endorse the ideology and instead believes in individual mobility of group members, the less likely that the group’s views will be interpreted as instances of discrimination or prejudice • Social costs: individuals who make such contribution are perceived as complainers and were generally less favourably evaluated by others Self-Fulfilling Prophecy • Attributing negative feedback from a non-stigmatized individual to prejudice may protect self-esteem; ubiquity of stereotype can influence one’s self-concept (whites viewed whites as positive and blacks as negatives; black viewed whites as negative and blacks as both positive and negative) • SELF-FULLFILLING PROPHECY: perceiver’s expectations about a target eventually lead the target to behave in ways to confirm those expectations (internalize negative views of others) • if minority group acknowledged that their group had as much worth as other groups in society, it would bring tremendous psychological discomfort in that it causes the stigmatised individual to question the structure of social reality • majority group’s stereotype influences how they act with minorities, these behaviours elicit behaviours that fit majorities initial expectations which is difficult to ignore as minorities; if you see stigmatized colleagues demonstrating stereotypes characteristics and recall yourself acting in same way, you accept stereotype as valid • prophecy doesn’t occur when target is aware of perceiver’s expectations; little data supporting it as a factor in stereotype relevant behaviour of the stigmatized • 4 ways stigmatized can maintain self-esteem • Attributing negative evaluations and reaction of others to prejudice • Devaluating outcomes on which their group compares poorly with other groups • Comparing one’s stigmatized ingroup with other stigmatized groups (instead of with non-stigmatized groups) • Psychologically disengaging self-esteem from feedback domain in which their group is as disadvantage INTERGROUP INTERACTION • People experience discomfort and desire to avoid interactions with physically different persons because they are conflicted over whether to star at individual or not (due to curiosity about group which they have infrequent interactions with NOT due to feelings of dislike or disgust) • Staring and avoidance reduce via habituation (spent more time to get accustomed to others) Dynamic Nature of Interactions • Typical intergroup interactions is characterized by anxiety; high prejudice majority member’s anxiety may reflect discomfort/negative feeling/avoidance feelings; interaction experienced minority members feel little or no anxiety in the interactions through relaxed behvaioru and demeanor (inexperienced are unlikely to behave in such a manner) • Low prejudice, unskilled majority members suggest that intergroup context holds potential for much misunderstanding (different motivations, expectations and experience) and don’t know what behaviour is inappropriate and this uncertainty leads to anxiety (avoidant nonverbal behaviours such as decreased eye contact, nervous laughter and increased interpersonal distance) which conveys opposite impression to minority group members (that majority is uncomfortable with minority due to feelings of prejudice) • Depending on minority group’s prejudice of majority group, they may respond with withdrawal, dismissal or hostility, majority may see this behaviour as prejudiced to majority if they don’t understand that it was in response to majority’s behaviour • Intergroup interactions can be fraught with misunderstandings, misconceptions and reaffirmed prejudices • Whites who claimed to be low in prejudice showed discriminatory nonverbal behavior (implicit) • Covertly and overtly stigmatized people differently in interactions with non-stigmatized people: invisible stigmatized individuals were likely to take partner’s perspective, remember what occurred in interaction and to remember details about what partner said; visibly stigmatized were less likely to remember detail of interaction but they remembered details about partner’s appearance and room • Invisible deviants pay close attention to detail relevant to exposing their condition, while visible deviants have a ‘spoiled identity’ and are engaged in damage control (vigilant about nonverbal behaviours to determine the true attitudes of majority person to stigmatized ingroup • In interactions, non-stigmatized showed a lot of effort encouraging partners to participate (talked, smiled and initiated conversations); stigmatized individual did participate, but the non-stigmatized did not remember partner’s contributions and said they disliked their stigmatized partner (they devalued contribution which confirmed their stereotypical preconceptions about minority) • Entering social interactions expecting it go poorly, the interactions are likely to turn out poorly • Lack of intergroup experience can lead to anxiety about intergroup interaction; the more anxiety one feels, the more one is likely to perceive the reaction of partner as negative • Devine’s model of the dynamic nature of intergroup interactions: expectations, motivations and prejudice can influence and be influenced by the perceptions of the other individual’s behaviour; moment to moment changes in social interactions influence both interactants; model takes into account the perspective, expectations, motivations and behaviour of minority individual in the intergroup context in an analysis of how these factors influence and are influenced by the majority individual • The following limitations of experimental setting limit our knowledge of intergroup interactions o Unrealistic and clearly defined causal variables which lead to unidirectional and linear causes and effect implicit in the experiment; reality is behaviour is affect by many factors (e.g. expectations, perceptions etc.) o Dynamic model suggests that there is no single clear cause and effect in a continuous interaction rather there are many miniature cause-effect sequences all encompassed in a dynamic feedback loop Expectations • Negative expectancies are fueled by the different perspectives individuals approach the understanding of the world (defined by narratives from “authorities” and counter- narratives”); or due to the majority groups strong biases and minorities victimization by way of those biases Intergroup Anxiety • Triad interaction study of European and African American women (hypothesis was that European Americans would more negative affect because they did not have as much intergroup experience- DISPROVED): RESULTS - European American women showed decreased task attention while African American showed little affective , cognitive or behavioural negative experience in the intergroup interaction largely because of their greater intergroup experience Metastereotypes • METASTEREOTYPE: one’s perceptions of another group’s stereotypes of one’s group • White Canadians had a common negative stereotype about how they are viewed by Aboriginal Canadians and that the belief in these metastereotypes was associated with more negative affect and expectancies regarding potential intergroup interactions; white Canadians felt decreased self-esteem and worsened self-concept clarity when they endorsed such stereotypes • Two thirds of black participants in the survey indicated that they believed that whites endorsed every stereotype about blacks (good and bad); white participants also viewed blacks in very stereotypical terms thus the metastereotypes of blacks were accurate; black women, youngsters and high-income individuals were less likely than black elder, male and lower-income individuals were less likely to view whites as holding positive views about blacks (those with more contact with whites are less likely to believe that they hold positive stereotypes) • Interactions are doomed when interactants are prejudiced against each other’s groups; when the outgroup member does something perceived as negative, the prejudiced perceiver is more likely to attribute the action to internal genetic factors, compared to when an ingroup member does the same thing; when the outgroup member performs a positively perceived action, the prejudice perceiver will attribute it to luck, exceptional effort or “exceptional cues” (AKA subtyping) ATTRIBUTIONALAMBIGUITY • Nonstigmatized individuals believe that others behave towards them based on the personality or performance of the nonstigmatized individual • Stigmatized people have to decide whether to attribute others behavior towards them as a reaction to their stigma (stereotype or prejudice) or their reactions to the aspects of the stigmatized individual that are not associated with the stigma (stigmatized person’s personality) – this attributional calculus is has been termed ATTRIBUTIONAL AMBIGUITY • Crocker suggests that chronic uncertainty that the stigmatized experience regarding the causes of other’s behaviour toward them has important consequences for their self- esteem, mood and interpersonal behaviour • The self-esteem of stigmatized people can be protected by regarding the negative behaviour of others toward them as a reflection of underlying prejudice and not as consequence of their personality traits (based on the intent of the nonstigmatized individual; if in context of scenario when where the stigma behaviour occurred, the nonstigmatized individual had non-dominant behaviour, they are acting in non- discriminatory terms (due to stereotypes), but if everyone around the stigmatized being is emitting similar stereotyping behaviour, intent becomes cloudier) • Thus to avoid this frustration, it is best to ascertain that the others behaviour toward you is related to your stigma and based on stereotypes and prejudices towards your group • Me having a having a negatively value characteristic and the effects of that on my perception of my interaction partner (experiment on women who thought they had scars applied (3 conditions, scars, allergy or epilepsy) interacted with confederates, discussed tactic to make friends) o Participants in the negative stigma conditions (scars and epilepsy) believed that their conditions had a strong impact on the behaviour of the partner (believed their partner was tense, patronizing, liked them less and found them less attractive), allergy conditions participants did not share this view o Strong influence of expectancies in clouding our perceptions of others reactions with us • Our expectancies about someone can cause us to regard that person’s normal, innocent behaviour as symptomatic of the attributed motive, characteristic or personality of the other individual • Stigmatized individuals who are pessimists (attributed others behaviours to prejudice) are more likely to feel more stressed at prejudiced intergroup interactions and tend to believe they fewer resources for coping with it; optimists (innocent until proven guilty) report more coping resources and much less stress at perceiving potential prejudice directed towards them • Positive feedback from nonstigmatized individuals can present an attributionally ambiguous situation (confusion due to intent of nonstigmatized person, are they faking or do they like me) • Studies show that nonstigmatized individuals give more positive ratings to stigmatized people in impression-formation tasks, is there a sympathy effect? 3 possible explanations: reflect true positive biases, reflect unconscious distortions of true negative feelings or they reflect conscious distortions of true negative feelings due to social desirability affect • How white females evaluate black and physically handicapped individuals (read transcript of individual (male white, male black or male handicapped) who was described as poor, lonely and had no future plans; half gave ratings in control situation, other half gave rating with bogus pipeline (fake machine to measure responses)): results: control and bogus rating same for handicapped and white; control conditions for black rated them as positive but bogus for black rated them significantly lower o Perceptions of stigmatized individuals are not homogenous; favourable rating of handicap reflected true underlying positive attitude toward the handicapped whereas favourable rating of black seemed to reflect an attempt to cover underlying negative feelings about blacks o Perhaps difference in reactions due to hurdles partners overcame in life (give handicap more credit and regarding black man as not facing as many hurdles) o Nonstigmatized individuals may also have viewed the negative life circumstances of black’s as relating to lack of motivation (handicap’s circumstances is beyond his control) • Black thinking they are interacting with another black or white, believe that pretend partner wants to or doesn’t want to be there friend (based on participants self-description or picture), self-esteem and mood measured o When blacks thought they received positive feedback (from white), their self- esteem raised when they believe they weren’t seen, and self-esteem decreased when they believed they were seen, even though they received positive feedback (positive feedback due to personality/character (increase SE) or due to patronizing reasons to not appear prejudiced (decrease SE)) o When participants thought they received negative feedback (from white), their self-esteem was unchanged when they believed that they were seen, but their self-esteem decreased when they believed they were not seen (seen negative feedback can be attributed to prejudice but unseen negative feedback might be attributed to fact that there is something unlikeable about the participant) even though seen negative feedback preserves self-esteem, it may result in feeling helpless and depressed • Related study: black and white participants were unaffected by positive feedback when evaluator was pro-black (or pro-Caucasian respectively), they were also unaffected by negative feedback from anti-black and anti-black evaluators as well • Attributional ambiguity leads stigmatized to engage in self-handicapping activities (drinking night before exam) that are designed to provide a ready excuse for anticipated poor performance The Paradoxical Effects of Affirmative Action • Affirmative action programs try to overcome past effects on stereotyped groups (help find good employment in workplace etc.), critics feel that this is reverse discrimination because unfair attempt to place preference for minority status above job qualifications in hiring decisions • If both beneficiaries and critics of such programs perceive the program as unjustified, they will each react negatively to the program (opposition especially likely for those who want unfair advantage over stigmatized) • Even though program does help minorities, overall success is limited (critics says program psychological costs for those who benefit from the program as it implies that they are inferior and need help from the society (majority group)-attribution ambiguity, due to stereotype or abilities, if stereotype then this has negative effect on stigmatized person self-esteem and views of self-competence) • Mentioning that women was hired due to status led perceivers to view her as less competent, but telling hired person that they were hired on basis of ability and status, they did not suffer from self-doubt etc. • Being recipient of help can negatively influence one’s self-esteem and feelings of competence (black helped by white (didn’t evaluate white negatively) reported lower self- esteem and depression and women membership based on gender thought it was unfair) • Minority feel defensive, hostile and decreased self-esteem when they receive help and they appeared not to conform to societal values and are perceived to lack competence or appropriate qualities; if help is aimed to remove past discriminatory barriers, the minority and nonminority perceivers do not experience negative reactions (seen as social concern/support) Perceived Controllability of the stigma • If receive negative feedback for perceivable controllable stigma, self-esteem is unchanged • Receive feedback for perceivably controllable stigma: o Nonstigmatized person has less sympathy ( think its lack of effort/will) o Negative feedback leads to decreased self-esteem and more negative affect but don’t blame perceiver o Prejudice towards them is seem as justifiable • Overweight women rejected for dating did not blame male (instead blamed their weight), felt negative affect, depression, hostility and low self-esteem (possible confound is that measuring women’s height and weight may have made this the salient reason for feedback) • Perceptions of controllability of stigma affects how stigmatized is treated and how they feel in response to feedback (uncontrollable=generally energized, can overcome, controllable = feel worse about self and their abilities, blame self for condition and regard themselves as failure when they are unable to change the their stigmatizing condition (no malice feelings toward negative evaluator) Chapter 7: Ageism • AGEISM: stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination based on age WHYAGEISM? (AND WHAT ABOUT OTHER “-ISMS?”) • 3 reasons : o In 1945, society’s focused used to be baby boomer, large part of society so it’s easy to focus on them, now as they are aging society is moving towards addressing issues and concerns of older baby boomers o Researchers of stereotyping and psychology textbooks books have paid little attention to ageism (usually focus on race and religion etc.) perhaps because they are baby boomers themselves o Ageism is a unique form of prejudice because the ingroup will (hopefully) become the outgroup; in other prejudice topics, group members are permanent and defined DOES AGEISM REALLY EXIST? • Some studies say ageism is not a valid phenomenon while others do • Researchers have either asked participants to indicate their attitudes towards older people in general (yielding ageist views) or they ask them to indicate their attitudes towards specific older individuals (find positive attitudes (even compared to attitudes toward younger people)) o The general question evokes a generic image of an older person, developed by the perceiver through subtle negative and pervasive exposure to elders o The specific question rarely evokes positive attitudes because individuals are asked to think of familiar people who they are unlikely to have negative attitudes towards • This cognitive dissonance of paradoxical views is relieved by subtyping (we are cognitive misers) • People generally have negative views about the superordinate category of older people but they have separate subcategories/basic categories for them as well and when an individual encounters an older individual, the elderly tends to get categorized into the subcategories and not the superordinate category • Age does influence how we perceive others as we first sort the world into general categories (e.g. race, age, gender) and this categorization limits (or influences) how subsequent person perception occurs and the impressions one has of the target individual; the superordinate category is a default category used when we don’t have specific enough information to categorize individuals into subcategories • People think about elder in many ways and in specific ways: individuals were asked to place 99 personality traits, they were asked to groups traits that would be found within the same older person (essentially creating groups) and to place traits in hierarchical order o Results: people had a number of subcategories for older people, with twice as many negative as positive subcategories (list of categories on top of page 169) o Hummert’s study found support for 8 of Schmidt and Bolan’s 12 subcategories • Views of older people are more complex than once thought; view depends on how attitude is solicited (general vs specific elder) AGE STEREOTYPES: CONTENT AND USE • The USA has far fewer positive than negative terms for older people indicating the presence of strong individual and institutionalized ageism • BENIGN AGEISM: subtle type of prejudice that arises out of conscious and unconscious fears and anxiety one has of growing old (more common) • MALIGNANT AGEISM: a wicked stereotyping process in which older people are regarded as worthless (less likely to see blatant examples of this, just like old-fashioned racism) • In the USA, old age is perceived synonymously with decline and loss of physical and mental capabilities (suggesting they are tires, slow, unproductive etc.) • Research suggests that Americans regard elders as warm but incompetent which leads them to treat elders with pity but not with respect • Social media conveys negative stereotypes about elders to children from a very young age • Ageism is one of the most unnoticed and socially condoned form of prejudice and it is fostered by the focus on the young (billions spent each year mask signs of ageing because being old isn’t desirable) POSITIVE AATTITUDES AND POSITIVE STEREOTYPES • Some research suggests that societies attitude towards elders is changing and becoming more positive (television portrayal of elders is becoming positive) • Positive stereotypes are indicative of “positive ageism” (prejudice and discrimination in favour of elders; it assumes elders are in need of special care, treatment or economic assistance but critics exist e.g. senior’s discounts); reality is that older people are as likely as younger people to have many of the positive ageism stereotypes • Well intentioned, positive stereotypes about older people (pseudo-positive stereotypes according to Palmer) can lead to patronizing language and behaviour toward older people and a loss of self-esteem in elders (research does not support the notion that positive stereotyping leads to negative stereotyping about older people, even though many people agree with this) EFFECTS OF PSEUDOPOSITIVE ATTITUDES Patronizing Language • People with positive attitudes about older people tend to communicate with them according ot negative stereotpes • 2 negative types of communication: o OVERACCOMODATION: younger individuals become overly polite, speak louder and slower, exaggerate their intonation, have a higher pitch and talk in simple sentences with elders ( leads to decreased serious thoughts, concerns and feelings expressed by elders; nurses in nursing homes were found to speak in simple short sentences, repeated phrases more slowly, simply due to the age of the individual) o BABY TALK: a more negative and condescending form of overaccomodation; it is simply the language used to speak to babies ( and secondary baby talk to pets, inanimate objects and adults); participants are unable to distinguish secondary and primary baby talk when content is filtered out) the exaggerated tone, simplified speech and high pitch is identical in both formats; elders with lower functional abilities preferred secondary baby talk to other types of speech because it conveys a soothing nurturing quality; elders with higher functioning cognitive and social ability regard secondary baby talk as disrespectful, condescending and humiliating; secondary baby talk is also disrespectful because it connotes a dependency relationship Patronizing Behaviour • INFANTILIZATION: the belief that elders are like children because of their inferior mental and physical abilities • The offer to help can be misinterpreted because it suggests that the target needs help (makes them feel incompetent, unable etc.) • People with high self-esteem are much less likely to request help than those with lower self-esteem (even well intended offers of assistance can negatively affect self-esteem of elders) Effects of Pseudo-Positive Attitudes on Older People • Infantilization creates a self-fulfilling prophecy (elders accept and believe they are no longer independent, contributing adults and that they must assume passive/dependent roles) • The acceptance of this role and loss in self-esteem occurs gradually over time as they are continuously exposed to society’s subtle and not so subtle Infantilization of elders (they believe and act accordingly thus stereotypes and treatments are maintained and reinforced) • By accepting and behaving according, elders are faced with the following negative consequences; social status decreased through decrease in responsibility and increased dependency, when society sees child-like behaviours in elders it may feel justified in its use of psychoactive medication, institutionalization, or declarations of incompetency, the political power of elders is reduced when people believe their ability and impact on society is limited • Elders with more positive self-perceptions lived 7.5 years longer than those with negative self-perceptions of aging • Elders who are targets of overaccomodation appear to instantly age (look, talk, move etc.) • Undergrads who thought they were making a teaching video for elders showed signs of withdrawal and negative affect; other students who watched the same video answered fewer questions correctly, rated the teacher less positively and felt worse about their own performance • Major part of self is derived from social interactions and feedback about the self that others give us (unlikely that everyone is wrong and you are right, thus you start to believe it yourself) • Older victims of patronizing talk were seen by older raters as helpless, weak and less alert; if someone verifies negative stereotypes about your group, it makes you uncomfortable because you derive your identity from this group and as a result, you may derogate the unusual member and distinguish them from the group as a non-member or a rare aberration • The self-esteem of scores of older people living independently in the community tend to be almost double the scores found in high-school students; because ageing affects self- esteem in three ways o One develops a stable self-concept and as one grows older, self-monitoring scores drop indicating a more stable and coherent self o Reduction in social roles one has as one gets older reduces the possibility for conflict between various aspects of the self o Aging is not a difficult period of working to develop oneself but is a time of simply maintaining one’s self, roles and abilities; most elders seem to have positive self- images but are quite resistant to change and damage from others • Lack of adequate defenses of for the self predicts vulnerability to ageism, resulting in lower self-esteem; the more times one has confirmed one’s self, the stronger the negative information needed to make a dent in one’s positive self-image • Some never develop a firm self-concept and are left feeling confused and acting inconsistently • These people cannot test who they are and therefore are vulnerable to negative information about themselves • Loss of physical capacity and loss of control over one’s environment can also contribute to a low self-esteem among elders AGEISM IN THE HELPING PROFESSION • People who’s career is to help is to help elder (counsellors, educators etc.) are just as likely as other people t be prejudice against elders • Physicians may negative or stereotypical views of older patients (see as depressing, senile, untreatable; frustrated/angry when confronted with cognitive or physical limitations of elders and may approach treatment with feelings of futility) • Medical Students: high ageist attitudes (second to their racial prejudice); medical education places small emphasis on geriatrics, and treats elders with apathy and disdain; students were more likely to recommend breast conserving/reconstructive surgery more to younger than older patients (doctors think that because age is unstoppable, illnesses accompanying old age are not important, because such illnesses are seen as natural part of the aging process • For old age, current treatment focuses on disease management rather than disease prevention and there is decreased optimism about the prognosis of medical problems in old age; common diseases (e.g. osteoporosis, diabetes, BP) can be changed and addressed proactively • Ageism does not prevent elders from using health and self-care information (use same as young people); when helped with jigsaw, rather than being simply encouraged, rated as more difficult because they believed themselves to be less able • Reluctant therapists: pervasive age stereotypes (less likely than young people to be referred to psychiatric assessment even with same symptoms); more likely to recommend drug therapy than psychotherapy for older patients with depression (not ageism but tendency to exaggerate the competency and excuse the failing of elder in attempt to be non-discriminatory) still mixed evidence thus unclear whether there is age bias among mental health care professionals • Perhaps therapists have misconceptions about ageing which can be addressed in clinical training with emphasis on the normal and abnormal aspects of ageing • Some believe therapist suffer not from ageism but from healthism: stereotypes about individuals who are in poor physical health) • Psychologists: rate prognosis of elder worse than that of youngers with the same symptoms and also rated interpersonal skills of individuals with poor health, worse, than those with no problems; bias in assessing presence and extent of mental health problems in elders because they frequently present with them • Elements of ageism/healthism health professionals can be changed, professional need to: o Continually asses their own attitudes towards elders o Confront ageism and healthism where is arises o Institute geriatrics programs in hospital and mental health practices o Integrate into their training a thorough knowledge of healthism and ageism as well as become well versed on happens to humans as the age ORIGINS OF AGEISM • GERONTOPHOBIA: irrational fear, hatred, and/or hostility toward older people; It is a fear of one’s own aging and of death; contributing factor to stereotyping and prejudice (fear of death displaced in form of prejudice) • Ageism increasing along with quality of life and life expectancy (more likely to die later thus old age is associated with death) Age Grading of Society • AGE GRADING (STRATIFICATION): implicit and explicit, expectations about behaviours that are expected and appropriate at various ages (age to vote, play, drink etc.) • Age grading has tremendous implications for attitudes we have towards members of society and the for the opportunities and quality of life people enjoy • GERONTOCRATIC SOCIETIES: cultures in which elders are held in highest respect and hold positions of power and leadership (sometimes primitive cultures) From Sage to Burden • Elders used to be held in high regard (in prehistoric, biblical and pre-revolutionary America) • 1770-1850: attitudes changed, as medicine advanced, large population of elders was created which society wasn’t prepared to deal with, old age viewed negatively and considered a burden • Youth oriented culture and industrial revolution led elders to be viewed as less productive and value to society; forced retirement at 65 may lead to depression because people defined by their careers and suddenly lose their career and have to learn new roles at this age Modernization • Theory of modernization: as society has become modernized, elders have lost respect, close bonds are like to be severed (extended family with grandparents has changed to smaller nuclear family), older people used to be valued and passed on tradition; not retirement has become a popular option as society focuses on youth; experience in a position is not as valued as being able to adapt to new approaches and technologies and conceptualize new approaches for the future Idealism • Theory of Idealism: ageism didn’t arise with industrial revolution but rather with the American and French revolution; before this, elders were revered and respected but after, social and political change demanded equality and liberty; elders weren’t held at higher statue and virtue because as American constitution stated “all men are equal”; elders authority to dictate what happens to their family was eliminated for personal liberty; innovation, change and new ideas was more valued than tradition caused by changed in values and belief and not in social structure • Even though idealism says that within ay historical period, it is unlikely that a society will hold both positive and negative views for elder; research shows Americans and Japanese hold both MAINTENANCE OF AGEISM Functional Perspective • Motives: Some data suggests that stereotypes serve as an ego-protective function • More likely function is that it helps individuals deny the self-threatening aspect of old age (done by blaming elders for their condition rather than blaming the age process itself) • Thus young people hold on to the illusion that they will not go through the same process • When people meet others who represent threat to self, more likely to act negatively towards them (for younger people, elders represent undesirable traits for a possible future) • Possible selves: perceptions and images of possible future selves; can induce certain moods, motivate goal-directed behaviour, or influence attitudes towards those possible futures • Young people can reduce anxiety about old age becoming their future ingroup, psychologically distance themselves from older people and reduce perceived threat to their self by reacting negatively to elders; results support functionalist approach, that future ingroup can exert a strong influence on one’s behaviour, thoughts and feelings in present social context Conflict • Instead of working together, society is seen as being composed of competing groups • Conflict theory says that institutions like retirement homes have pluses and negatives for retirement; negative is loss of working/contributing status Self-Threat, Self-Esteem, and Terror Management • Almost every elder experiences some form of humiliation (aging process in USA subjects aging individual to negative expectations, lowered status, discrimination and stereotyping, Infantilization, and, unfortunately not surprisingly, declining self-esteem • The more possible selves one has, the more easily that person can handle challenging and self-threatening self-relevant information • Young and elders are more likely to stereotype young people in terms of a variety of features whereas elders are stereotypes in terms of their age; this along with loss of various self-roles as one ages can adversely affect self-esteem (less self-conceptions from which SE is derivable) • Much of self-esteem tied to work related self and feelings of usefulness/contribution to society • Retirement can impair sense of control over one’s life and surroundings and negatively influence self-esteem; few selves to deflect self-relevant threatening information can lead to diminished self-esteem and depression • Research says elders tend to preserve current self, do not engage in fearing what might become and do not strive for unattainable possible selves; balance, continuity and stability help elders maintain a better adjusted psychological, emotional and physiological state • Terror-Management Theory (TMT): states that culture and religion are creations that impose order and meaning on the world and this removes frightening thoughts of one’s morality and chaotic random nature of existence • Self-esteem is derived from the perception that one has meaningful purpose in the world • Childhood: associate good with being safe, being rewarded associated with parental approval; being good means being protected and self-esteem becomes an anxiety buffer in that it helps to deny one’s mortality • When young people see photos of elderly, they showed more cognitive accessibility to death-related concepts • Student who had mortality made salient, psychologically increased their distance from older persons and were more likely to attribute negative characteristics to elders JUVENILE AGEISM • JUVENILE AGEISM: denial of personhood of children, by adults who assume that children cannot make decisions for themselves, do not work, must be taught to learn, are not intelligent individuals, cannot cope with daily life without assistance, and do not know what is best for themselves; perhaps anger cause they are no longer young • Speaking to youngsters in patronizing ways elicits annoyance and irritation • Three types of patronizing speech: non-listening, disapproving and over-parenting (disapproval communicating the most negative intent); patronizing speech is one direction is often matched by the same speech in response; we respect people more when they stand up to our patronizing speech • Assertive respondents to patronizing speech are rated as more controlling, higher status, and less nurturing • Juvenile ageism may arise because young people remind elders of the burden of responsibility of children and their dependency on adults • Juvenile ageism receives little attention because it is so widely accepted yet adolescents do not suffer from diminished self-esteem BELIEFS AND EXPECTATIONS ABOUT OLD AGE Beliefs and Expectations of Young People about Aging • 80.3 % of males said that the worst time in their life was from age 60 onwards; since respondents were not in that age group, this represents negative expectations about life beyond 60 • Adolescents focus on present and consider future as a negative time in their lives holding little promise and little importance; views exist from childhood and children have few positive views about elder and have little contact with them and fear old age due to its association with death • Much of children’s knowledge about elders is gained through school books (16% of which had older characters; 4% of which had an older person as a main character); they were portrayed as retired, problem creators and dependents (mirror society’s ambivalence) • Common descriptors of elders in books: poor, sad, wise and dear • Children as young as 4 looked at and conversed less with elders; programs that bring children into contact with elders have strong impact on ageism (reducing it) Expectations of Older People about Aging • Elders have much more positive views about old age than did young people (perhaps an attempt to maintain self-esteem or obtain a higher status) • Another study suggests elders have the same negative stereotypes about “senior citizens” as young people did; but elders showed subtyping of people in their own subgroup (less negative and more complex and specialized traits for “like-me category)- homogeneity bias • Young-old (55-75) are active, economically independent, healthy, working, living parents, which contributes to youthfulness • Old-old (75+) are elder’s upon whom ageist stereotypes are base; these views are inaccurate generalizations about young-old • All ages assigned negative stereotypes to old-old (especially health problem related) and positive stereotypes for younger age ranges (activist) • Neugarden’s study looks at the conflicting views: o Ask participants to rate age stereotypes (positive and negative) as characteristics of 30-45 years old or 55-70 (on Likert scale) o Problems with study: elders asked to do a force choice questionnaire in which trait was characteristic of 30-45 or 55-70 year old or equal; previous studies showed positive and especially negative were associated with old-old but here old group was young old who had to associate old-old characteristics with their ingroup (thus likely to positively rate ingroup), if firs study distinguished old-young and young-young, perhaps elders wouldn’t have attributed so many positive stereotypes to themselves o Second study had negative stereotypes for elder because people were more likely to associate negative ageist views with general “old” category, rather than “like me” category AGE DISCRIMINATION • Elders discriminated when they apply or try to maintain employment • Younger and older people rated elders negatively compared to young people (managers also thought elders were trustworthy, reliable and dependable while young viewed elders as more stable than young workers) • Older raters showed no ingroup bias because: age groups weren’t clear; and large difference between young and elder participants (only students vs business managers) thus elders showed no preference to assigning personality to worker in each age groups and why they didn’t rely on age stereotypes • Hiring managers deny any age bias in hiring, blame factors outside of their control • Not all elder’s experience cognitive decline and they perform equally on jobs; many jobs are based on knowledge and experience more than cognitively based skills like reasoning, elders were also found to be perfectly able at learning new computer tasks, they did perform work more slowly than younger people but it to a degree of greater accuracy (termination, no promotion etc.) • Elders face future with grim outlook, 3 reactions: o Accept aging with confidence, optimism and an active vibrant lifestyle o Deny information cognitively identifying with a younger age group o Avoid the possibility of age related feedback (don’t want information about their memory that had the potential to suggest that their ability was declining; poor performance may simply be due to anxiety felt in testing situation) PROMINENCE OF AGE AS A VARAIBLE IN SOCIAL PERCEPTION • Certain features of an individual are more prominent than others; these features are the basis for categorization of the individual (most noticeable-race, gender and age: PRIMITIVE CATEGORIES: consistently used for processing social information, more accessible for future) • Age is automatically activated for processing social info: participants presented with a priming word (old or young) then with traits which they had to categorize as good or bad; Results, based on the network activation model of memory, when old prime was presented negative traits were more accessible than when young prime was presented (positive traits were more accessible in this case) • Thus the activation of age categories has a strong influence on the way social information is processed • Participants have greater implicit memory for words consistent with negative stereotypes about older people (than inconsistent words) • No difference between high and low in conscious prejudice toward elders: implicit (unconscious) cognition operates independently of conscious cognition with respect to stereotype • High and low prejudice individuals are more likely to have access to negative information about elders so both groups appear prejudiced in in implicit measures of stereotyping • In terms of conscious attitudes towards elders, low prejudice individuals are able/more motivated to suppress negative thoughts (allow egalitarian attitudes towards elders) • Age stereotypes can be triggered by an individual’s physiognomic cues (old-old cues are gray hair, wrinkled skin etc.) • Candidate’s age has a greater effect on voting behaviour than their race or gender does:
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