Research shows 80% of us have deep age bias against older people
The team at Harvard wanted to discover what we might be hiding about deeply hidden prejudices. They created a form of questionnaire that measures the associations we make between "good" and "bad" and "old" and "young".
When you take part in the test you are given two sets of images and two lists of words: one with positive associations ("happy", "love"); the other with negative ("tragedy", "agony"). The images and words are set to flash up at random on a computer screen, and participants make their selections when the words flash up at the same time as images of young and old people.
"The data collected so far indicates that almost 80% of us have a bias against older people,"
The theory is that, depending on our prejudices, we will subconsciously make the link between "old" and "lonely", or "young" and "beautiful".
When we are asked to make the link between a pair that goes against our implicit associations (for example "old" and "happy") it will take us fractionally longer to overcome our bias. The longer the time it takes to accept a pairing, the greater our bias.
More than 4.5 million people have taken some version of the test online, and the data collected so far indicates that almost 80% of us have a bias against older people. That is just shocking isn't it!
We have taken the test here at The Age of No Retirement and are either slightly in favour of older or younger. We are focused on age neutrality so were disappointed not to have shown age neutrality. And we are consciously focused on this as a goal. Our sub conscious stereotypes are so deeply ingrained. So a lot of work still be done to create age equality.
You can take the test yourself at implicit.harvard.edu