About this Research Topic
Performance and assessment outcomes are supposed to allow us to objectively measure the presence of specific skills or abilities, such as cognition, memory or physical performance. Older adults are increasingly subjected to such tests in employment contexts and in their interactions with health and social care professionals. These tests are used as indicators of abilities and achievements, as well as age-related deficits and trajectories of decline. However, research suggests that the threat posed by negative stereotypes of ageing has potential to interfere and worsen older adults’ performance in these settings, bringing into question the reliability of these assessments. This perceived threat is known as ‘age-based stereotype threat’.
Extensive research has empirically examined the impact of age-based stereotype threat, and related methodologies used to prime age stereotypes, on outcomes related to cognitive skills, such as memory and problem solving ability, and more recently, on physical performance, such as handgrip and walking, and physiological activity, such as heart rate and blood pressure. However, research has revealed a mixed picture about the impact of negative age stereotypes raising important theoretical and empirical questions about the nature of age-based stereotype threat, the methods used to capture these effects and the breadth of its impact in everyday contexts such as employment and healthcare settings.
Clear gaps remain in the psychology literature that prevent us from understanding these mixed results. This body of work would provide a better understanding of the nuances and boundary conditions of age-based stereotype threat effects. Empirical data is also required to understand how to reduce or ameliorate these negative effects. Collectively we hope this Research Topic will provide clear recommendations for practitioners in relevant contexts where these effects occur.
This Research Topic welcomes contributions examining age-based stereotype threat, on a wide variety of performance-related dependent variables (for example, but not limited to memory, cognition, physiological or physical performance outcomes). We welcome papers considering additional factors that either attenuate, enhance or extend the effects of age stereotypes on performance outcomes. These can include, but are not limited to, identity, self-regulation, emotion, personality, intergenerational contact or attitudes to age. We are open to methodological papers and those that also include other related methodologies, such as priming age stereotypes.
We also encourage contributions with reasonable sample sizes and robust methods that failed to find age-based stereotype threat on performance outcomes and those that highlight boundary conditions of age based stereotype threat effects.
Article types accepted will be original article, brief research report, review, systematic review, mini-review, and perspectives related to age-based stereotype threat, such as stereotype activation or age priming.
Keywords: Age-based stereotype threat, age-priming, stereotypes, performance, assessment
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.