“Stereotypes that view older adults as cognitively or physically impaired, may affect how they perform on a variety of tasks, according to a new study.”
“‘We need to make people feel confident in their own abilities and feel that they will be respected no matter how they perform,’ says Sarah Barber.” (Credit: Getty Images)
posted by Anna Varela – Georgia State
“Stigmatized groups—whether due to race, socioeconomic status, or age—perform more poorly when faced with negative stereotypes, says Sarah Barber, a psychology and gerontology researcher at Georgia State University. She found expectations of others can play a powerful role in how well older adults perform on cognitive tasks and motor skills such as driving.
“The phenomenon is known as “stereotype threat,” Barber says. The new paper, published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, looks at recent studies as well as those dating back to the mid 1990s, all of which show the power of this phenomenon.
“’The concept was originally formulated to look at stereotypes around race,” Barber says, but the effect turned out to be much broader. It can affect older adults and affect their memory, physical performance, driving abilities, and even job satisfaction.
“Older adults frequently encounter the challenge of stereotype threat at their physician’s office, where they routinely go for checkups, Barber says, and where they may take part in cognitive tests as well.”
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