The role of positive and negative cues in promoting and resisting age stereotypes

Golshani, Soha (2015). The role of positive and negative cues in promoting and resisting age stereotypes Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Golshani, Soha
Thesis Title The role of positive and negative cues in promoting and resisting age stereotypes
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2015-10-07
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Catherine Haslam
Total pages 94
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract
This study explores the direct influence of cues as a means of resistance strategy to safeguard memory performance when one categorises the self as older. The combined effects of agebased categorisation and the direct exposure to cues about aging on cognitive performance of older adults were investigated. This experimental study manipulated older adults’ perception of their age in order to allow participants to self-categorise as Younger or Older while being exposed to positive or negative cues about aging with respect to memory and assessing their performance on memory and language tasks. It is predicted that individuals encouraged to self-categorise as younger would perform better than those self-categorised as older. Furthermore, we anticipated exposure to positive cues will enhance performance relative to negative cues. Among older conditions, underperformance is hypothesized to occur for individuals exposed to negative cues through confrontation of what it means to be older. However, older adults exposed to positive cues would show resistance in the form of enhanced performance by promoting aging in a positive frame. Finally, performance differences are expected to emerge on memory tasks rather than language tasks, primarily driven by the content of cues emphasising memory competence. Performance on memory and language tasks were examined in 58 participants and results contrary to predictions were found. No differences on cognitive performance were evident between younger and older conditions. Contrary to expectations, it was found individuals exposed to negative cues performed significantly better than those exposed to positive cues. In addition, contrary to predictions, among the older conditions, those exposed to negative cues did not underperform on memory measures; however, there appeared to be some evidence of performance lift on one language measure. Finally, given these findings, a difference emerged on one language task and none on memory tasks. Explanations for the overall failure to find support for hypothesis along with methodological issues and directions for future research are discussed. 
Keyword Promoting
Age stereotypes

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Created: Wed, 04 May 2016, 09:25:53 EST by Lisa Perry on behalf of School of Psychology