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Valérie Plouffe, Youna Dion-Marcoux, Daniel Fiset, Hélène Forget, Caroline Blais; Visual representation of age groups as a function of ageism levels. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):842. doi: 10.1167/17.10.842.
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Prejudice against the elderly is a growing concern and has shown to report many negative social and individual consequences (European social survey, 2012). Last VSS (Dion-Marcoux et al., 2016), we presented a study showing that ageism modulates the mental representation of a prototypical young and old face: individuals with higher prejudice represented a young face as being older and an old face as being younger than individuals with less prejudice. The present study verified if this finding is subtended by ageism modifying the boundaries used to categorize a person as young or old, or by ageism modifying the representation of facial aging throughout life. Thirty young adults took part in three tasks: An Implicit Association Test, an age categorization task, and a Reverse Correlation task. In the Reverse Correlation task, participants had to decide which of three faces embedded in white noise was most prototypical of the appearance of a 20, 40, 60 or 80 years-old face (block design). The mental representations of the ten participants with the highest vs. lowest ageism were averaged, and presented to 30 individuals who estimated their age. Results show a significant interaction between ageism and face group on the perceived age [F(3, 87)=17.17, p< 0.05]. Although participants with higher prejudice had a significantly older perception of the age 40 [t(58)=3.077, p=0.0032], the pattern reversed for 80 years-old faces [t(58)=-2.317, p=0.024], which they represented as younger. The boundary used in the age categorization task did not differ as a function of ageism [t(18)=0.18, ns]. These results suggest that highly prejudiced individuals represent different groups (40, 60 and 80 years-old) of other-age faces as being less dissociable from one another than lower prejudice individuals.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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