A popular view holds that older adults are more prejudiced than younger adults because they grew up in a less tolerant era. An alternative view proposes that aging corresponds with stronger prejudice among older adults because they have reduced capacity to inhibit biased associations that come to mind automatically. To independently assess these possibilities, we modeled the processes underlying implicit racial attitudes in samples of teenagers through people in their nineties. Results indicated that older adults showed greater implicit bias because they were less able to regulate the automatic associations they possessed, not because of holding stronger associations in the first place. These findings suggest that age-related increases in racial biases, even those that are implicit, may be due to self-regulatory failure of older adults, rather than to cohort effects.
- Automatic associations
- Implicit attitudes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science