Evaluations of older and younger adult speakers: Influence of communication effectiveness and noise.
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University students (N = 96) performed 3 communication tasks presented to them either by young men (mean age = 26 years) or by older men (mean age = 77 years). In counterbalanced order, students heard speakers in 3 message conditions (effective, ineffective, and noise). The messages of older men and the older men themselves were evaluated less positively than were younger men. In line with the hypothesis of age-biased behavioral interpretation, older adults speaking effectively were not accorded the same evaluative benefits over their less effective guises, especially on competence ratings, as were younger speakers. Furthermore, the noise condition was predictably more detrimental to ratings of the older speakers, who were more vulnerable to generalized negative affect.
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