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Sample text

If a person believes that old people are unattractive, for example, this is no reason to have a negative attitude toward them. Negative attitudes are dislikes just one step away from bias and prejudice. The early studies on beliefs and attitudes were based mainly on questionnaires and surveys. Most of these showed that young people were generally negative about the elderly. Some studies showed that older people held similar negative beliefs and attitudes. After all, they had been young once, and then grew into old age only to keep their same ideas.

The stereotype of "old": a review and an alternative approach. Tournai ofGerontology, 1976,31,441-447. Bultena, G. , & Powers, E. A. Denial of aging: age identification and reference group orientations. Tournai ofGerontology, 1978, 33, 748-754. Butler, R. Ageism-another form ofbigotry. The Gerontologist, 1969,9,243-246. Connor, C. , Litzelman, D. , & Alvarez, M. G. Evaluation of job applicants: The effects of age versus success. Tournai ofGerontology, 1978,33,246-252. Bassili, Crockett, W. , Press, A.

One study showed that the negative stereotypes increased toward those in each decade from 35 to 75. More current, more sophisticated studies 34 0 AGING AND BEHAVIOR reAected less negatively held beliefs, but those that were held were more subtle. Thus there is much work to do in education, work to demonstrate the unfairness and tragedy of bias. Negative attitudes can only make a person feel negative about him- or herself just because of being old or becoming old. Much of the life span can be painful, even ruined, simply by negative stereotype.

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