What's Behind Ageism?

After overcoming his own misconceptions about older adults, Michael North, a researcher from Princeton University, joined psychology professor Susan Fiske to find answers to an important societal question: where does ageism come from?

North and Fiske (via princeton.edu)

The results they found, as published on Princeton’s website here, showed that three major factors contribute to the way older people are perceived by younger generations:

Identity: Older people shouldn’t act younger than they are or try to be “hip.”

Succession: Older people shouldn’t get in the way of jobs or opportunities that could instead be offered to younger people trying to “move up.”

Consumption: Older people shouldn’t take up resources such as health care or Social Security.

According to the study, older adults who violate these three stereotypes were met with feelings of resentment from their younger counterparts.

Can you think of a situation where you were on either side of these common instances of ageism? What are some ways you’ve seen these stereotypes overcome?



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