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The activation of aging stereotypes in younger and older adults

The activation of ageism and aging stereotypes in younger and older adults was investigated by manipulating both the valence and the stereotypicality of trait stimuli. Participants were 72 young adults (mean age 18.9 yrs) and 59 older adults (mean age 70.6 yrs); they completed a lexical decision task in which the stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) between the prime and target stimuli were varied to examine the effects of automatic and controlled processing (300 and 2,000 msec, respectively). Both younger and older adults demonstrated strong stereotype activation for elderly stereotypes but relatively weak activation for young stereotypes. Both younger and older adults also demonstrated a positive bias toward older people, which was not moderated by SOA. These findings suggest that younger and older adults do not differ in their accessibility to aging stereotypes or to their age-based biases, which appear to be positive toward elderly people. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)