If an attribute such as age is automatically and generally connected with certain characteristics such as “slow”, “forgetful”, or “weak”, psychologists call these age stereotypes.
Stereotypes are overgeneralisations and prejudice that overlook individual characteristics and a person’s potential.
Particularly in the workplace, age stereotypes are dangerous because they often lead to age discrimination. With the increasing proportion of older employees brought on by demographic change, companies can no longer afford to maintain such an inaccurate concept of age and ageing or to misjudge the productivity of young or experienced employees. One of EY ALTER’s main goals is therefore to eliminate harmful age stereotypes.
In reality, almost none of us are free of preconceived notions: a spring chicken here, the old duck there. Psychologists call these age stereotypes. And they are dangerous. Age stereotypes can have a negative impact: on memory, performance, our self-image, and even on job opportunities. Prejudice has been proven to reduce mental performance by up to 50 percent (1).
Many common opinions about age have long been scientifically refuted.
EY ALTER, time to get to know yourself!
Kirchner, C., Völker, I. & Bock, O.L. (2015). Priming with age stereotypes influences the performance of elderly workers. Scientific Research Publishing, 6, 133-137.