Title

Forgetful? Demented? Maybe you're just stereotyped.

Poster Number

19B

Lead Author Major

Psychology and Political Science

Lead Author Status

Sophomore

Second Author Major

Psychology

Second Author Status

Junior

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Carla Strickland-Hughes

Faculty Mentor Email

cstricklandhughes@pacific.edu

Faculty Mentor Department

Psychology

Abstract/Artist Statement

Commonly-held stereotypes about memory and aging, such as the beliefs that aging equates to memory decline and that older adults are forgetful or demented, endanger older adults (Hummert, 2011). That is, concerns about confirming these negative stereotypes can impair the actual memory performance of older adults where they underperform compared to their true ability – an example of age-based stereotype threat (ABST; Lamont et al., 2015). A meta-analysis suggested that older adults’ memory performance is particularly vulnerable to ABST (Lamont et al., 2016). ABST may even impair older adults' performance on screening measures for dementia, possibly leading to false-positive diagnoses (Mazerolle et al., 2015). ABST effects are more pronounced when individuals identify strongly with their group or feel anxious about their performance (Hess, 2006; Kite et al., 2005), and thus may be effective targets for intervention. This research aims to (1) to test a replication of the ABST manipulation used by Mazerolle et al. (2015) with a different memory test and (2) evaluate whether the ABST effect on older adults’ memory is moderated by task-related anxiety, age-group identification, or participation in a discussion group with younger adults focused on topics relevant to aging. The present research uses a quasi-experimental between-groups design to test these questions. Participants will be healthy, community-dwelling adults (aged at least 50 years old) recruited from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Participants will complete an associative memory task either in a high threat or a null threat instructions condition and will respond to surveys assessing their task-related anxiety, age group identification, and contact with younger adults (including the discussion group). Better memory performance is expected for participants who report less task-related anxiety, who feel younger, and who report positive contact with younger adults. Results of this study will inform design of interventions to reduce the impact of ABST.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

28-4-2018 10:00 AM

End Date

28-4-2018 12:00 PM

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Apr 28th, 10:00 AM Apr 28th, 12:00 PM

Forgetful? Demented? Maybe you're just stereotyped.

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Commonly-held stereotypes about memory and aging, such as the beliefs that aging equates to memory decline and that older adults are forgetful or demented, endanger older adults (Hummert, 2011). That is, concerns about confirming these negative stereotypes can impair the actual memory performance of older adults where they underperform compared to their true ability – an example of age-based stereotype threat (ABST; Lamont et al., 2015). A meta-analysis suggested that older adults’ memory performance is particularly vulnerable to ABST (Lamont et al., 2016). ABST may even impair older adults' performance on screening measures for dementia, possibly leading to false-positive diagnoses (Mazerolle et al., 2015). ABST effects are more pronounced when individuals identify strongly with their group or feel anxious about their performance (Hess, 2006; Kite et al., 2005), and thus may be effective targets for intervention. This research aims to (1) to test a replication of the ABST manipulation used by Mazerolle et al. (2015) with a different memory test and (2) evaluate whether the ABST effect on older adults’ memory is moderated by task-related anxiety, age-group identification, or participation in a discussion group with younger adults focused on topics relevant to aging. The present research uses a quasi-experimental between-groups design to test these questions. Participants will be healthy, community-dwelling adults (aged at least 50 years old) recruited from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Participants will complete an associative memory task either in a high threat or a null threat instructions condition and will respond to surveys assessing their task-related anxiety, age group identification, and contact with younger adults (including the discussion group). Better memory performance is expected for participants who report less task-related anxiety, who feel younger, and who report positive contact with younger adults. Results of this study will inform design of interventions to reduce the impact of ABST.