"Old People” Stereotypes Can Affect Cognitive Skills
Negative stereotypes about age can actually affect older adults’ memory and cognitive performance, according to new research.
A research team from the University of Kent, in the UK, analyzed 37 international research studies for the effect of what is called Age Based Stereotype Threat (ABST). They said the phenomenon affects both men and women.
Even a hint that the subjects were being judged on age alone was enough to affect their performance, according to a news release from the university.
Study leader Ruth Lamont said that the study showed that even ‘subtle differences’ in the way people behave toward older people – such as speaking slowly – could be enough to make them underperform.
The research team said that the vulnerability of adults to ABST has far-reaching consquences as the global population ages.