Tuesday 23 February 2021

Meet me in St. Louis

Webster University's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Virtual Conference, 23-25 February.

My lecture: The Urgent Need for a New Narrative on Ageing; 24th February, 11 AM - 12 St. Louis time

Age is not a popular diversity dimension to focus on. Research shows comparably little interest, there are no allies, no hashtags trending. The reluctance to turn it into an issue society discusses leads to little awareness. Ageism hardly elicits emotional responses in everyday life – no matter if encountered in health care, design, language, marketing, movies, urban planning or at the workplace, to mention a few. We are taught gerontophobic stereotypes in younger years and start developing prejudice against our future selves early which makes them appear more acceptable at a later stage and us vulnerable to self-stereotyping. Despite the need to act and the fact that old age, if we are lucky, affects us all, stigmatising ageing is widely accepted.

Friday 19 February 2021

APA Guidelines: Bias-Free Language for Age

"Avoid using terms such as “seniors,” “elderly,” “the aged,” “aging dependents,” and similar “othering” terms because they connote a stereotype and suggest that members of the group are not part of society but rather a group apart (see Lundebjerg et al., 2017; Sweetland et al., 2017). Do not use these stigmatizing terms in your research even if your participants use them to refer to themselves (also see guidance regarding disability). Likewise, avoid negativistic and fatalistic attitudes toward aging, such as age as being an obstacle to overcome (Lindland et al., 2015). Do not use “senile”; it is an outdated term with no agreed-upon meaning. Use “dementia” instead of “senility”; specify the type of dementia when known (e.g., dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease). Be sure your language conveys that aging is a normal part of the human experience and is separate from disease and disorder." 
::: More: APA Guidelines

photograph by Lee Friedlander via

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Self-Stereotypes and Handwriting

Abstract: (...) Handwriting samples of 20 Ss (mean age 71 yrs) were randomly selected, with half of the sample taken from individuals who had been subliminally exposed to positive stereotypes of aging while the other half was taken from individuals who had been subliminally exposed to negative stereotypes of aging. The handwriting samples were produced both before and after the priming. 40 individuals (aged 16–36 yrs) then judged the handwriting samples according to how much they felt the samples were characterized by six attributes: accomplished, confident, deteriorating, senile, shaky, and wise. The age of each writer was also guessed. Results found that judges were able to distinguish the writers who had been exposed to the negative stereotypes from those exposed to positive stereotypes. It is concluded that self-stereotypes influence mental functioning and behavior in the elderly. (...)

- Levy, B. (2000). Handwriting as a reflection of aging self-stereotypes. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 33(1), 81–94.
- photograph by Leon Levinstein via