Degree Date



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Experimental studies have shown that negative stereotypes of aging cause a significant reduction in memory performance, as well as on other cognitive tasks, in older adults. Despite literature detailing the increasing difficulty with listening comprehension in older age, no study to date has examined the effects of negative stereotypes of aging on listening comprehension among older adults. This study investigates the effects of stereotype primes about aging on sentence comprehension in older adults. Education is also investigated as a moderator of effects of the prime. Negative stereotype primes were presented to a sample of 60 to 75 year old adults (M = 69 years old) and performance before and after the presentation of the stereotype primes was measured on a sentence comprehension task with more and less complex syntax. The negative primes were both implicit, that is below the threshold of awareness for some participants, and explicit that is above the threshold of awareness for other participants, a neutral control group was also included. The results show no statistically significant differences in accuracy times between neither the implicit, nor the explicit, negative stereotype primes and the control for the higher education sample. A medium effect size difference, however, was found between the negative explicit group and the control group. Education was not shown to moderate the effects of the negative prime condition. A discussion of these outcomes is presented with implications for the age stereotype priming literature.