Schema‐Guided Information Search in Stereotyping of the Elderly

Charles S Carver, Nora H. de la Garza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Current theory holds that stereotypes of outgroups are organized schematically in memory, as reflected by the fact that evoking one aspect of the stereotype tends to evoke other aspects as well. Previous research shows that when a stereotype is activated, one result is biased encoding of subsequently available information, such that stereotype‐consistent information is encoded preferentially over stereotype‐irrelevant information. The present research investigated whether evoking a specific stereotype‐that of the elderly‐would cause subjects to actively seek out stereotype‐relevant information. Subjects read a brief description of an auto accident, which involved either an elderly driver or a young driver as its protagonist. As predicted, the “elderly” label led to the differential seeking of information concerning the physical and mental adequacy of the driver and possible impairment of his vision, whereas the “young” label led subjects to seek information as to whether the driver had been drinking. Discussion centers on the relationship between these findings and the results of prior research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1984

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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