Aging and Behavior: A Comprehensive Integration of Research by Jack Botwinick

By Jack Botwinick

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In another study, age was the reason for the failure of the old, while at the same time age was seen as the reason for the success of the young. Even more subtle, and even harder to combat, is a type of bias that is not based on "age per se" but on traits more common to the old than to the young, or bias based not on age but on characteristics not of interest to a younger person. This type of bias suggests that an old person will be responded to positively if that person has traits more common to the young than the old, or if the young find the old person interesting.

Competence was va ried by having two different transcripts, one reAecting competence and the other not. Each concerned a 25- or a 65-year-old man or woman applying for a job as a travel agent. The raters themselves were of two age-groups: a college student group and a group aged 25 to 64 of average age 38. The findings of this study were similar to those of the previous one. Age of applicant was not an important factor in the evaluations, although the older applicant was seen as less active. This was equally true in the ratings of the younger and older responders.

Generalized Old People versus a Particular Person Two studies were based on hypothetical job interviews. In the first study, a fictional transcript of the interview was distributed to college students to evaluate the applicant (Connor, Walsh, Litzeiman, & Alvarez, 1978). The "applicant," a Mrs. Virginia Johnson, was either 24 or 63. Half the students were given a transcript for a position as a switchboard operator, the other half were given transeripts for a teacher's aid. One-third were told that the applicant had been hired, one-third were told that she was not hired, and one-third were told that the outcome was unknown.

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