Effects of target age and participant age on attitude inferences and their accuracy

Manuel, Rhoda (1999) Effects of target age and participant age on attitude inferences and their accuracy. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The present research investigated the effects of target and participant age on the inferences made about people's attitudes and the accuracy of these inferences. Two studies were conducted. One study asked people spanning the adult age range to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement with various statements. This measurement provided the comparison for assessing the accuracy of attitude estimations. The other study asked people spanning the adult age range to estimate the attitudes of either a man or a woman in their twenties or early thirties, in their late thirties or forties, or in their fifties or sixties. Participants in both studies were obtained from random samples of the general population. As expected, people's actual attitudes differed according to age. Specifically, the older the person, the less liberal their attitudes. In terms of attitude estimations, participants varied in their expectations of the liberalness of the attitudes of adults of different ages. Younger adults estimated that each successively older age group would be less liberal. Middle-aged adults estimated that middle-aged and older adults would hold similar attitudes, ones that were less liberal than younger adults. Older adults estimated that middle-aged adults would hold the least liberal attitudes and that the oldest adults would hold attitudes that were as liberal as the youngest adults. This pattern of inferences provides some support for age in-group/out-group categorization. There was no consistent evidence that people would be more accurate in estimating the attitudes of people their own age in comparison with people from other age groups, as had been predicted. Two findings that did suggest an out-group inaccuracy bias, however, were the under-estimations made by older adults of the liberalness of the attitudes of middle-aged adults and the over-estimations made by middle-aged adults of the liberalness of the attitudes of younger adults. People also tended to over- and under-estimate the extent to which women would hold liberal attitudes in comparison with their estimates of men's attitudes. Women were also more accurate overall than men in estimating the attitudes of people in their late thirties or forties.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9147
Item ID: 9147
Additional Information: Bibliography: pages 40-43.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Attitude (Psychology); Social perception; Ageism

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