Attitudes Toward Younger and Older Adults Learning To Use Computers Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Person perception and direct attitude paradigms were employed to examine age bias in the achievement-oriented setting of computer learning. Two samples of volunteers (80 undergraduates and 120 science museum visitors) evaluated a target person (a man or woman, aged either 25 or 70 years) described as being enrolled in a computer course and made causal attributions after outcome feedback. Age effects were significant, but gender effects were not observed. Older adults were considered less likely to succeed in the course and less typical for their age group, although the older course enrollees were viewed as more competent overall than their younger peers in the course. In the undergraduate sample only, causal attributions indicated that the success of older adults was less related to the task than for young adults, and that their failure was less related to lack of effort and more related to their age. Analyses of the direct attitude items yielded predictably stronger age effects in both studies, accounting for 61-80% of the variance.

publication date

  • March 1, 1992