Are you locked in the age cage with negative views on aging that you have nurtured since childhood? Do you find yourself making cynical, stereotypical jokes about older adults' undesirable behavior and appearance? Negative self-stereotyping unconsciously influences behaviors. Older adults can help eliminate ageism by committing to unlocking and leaving their own age cages and modeling positive acceptance to younger generations.
Technology can speed up the visual aging process now with age progression simulators that eliminate the long wait to see results of certain aspects of aging. Consider how many young adults today view aging and their responses while being participants in a research study in old-age progression. These college students were randomly assigned to one of three groups: self-aged simulation (viewing their own aging), stranger-aged simulation (viewing strangers aging), or a control group. Which group do you think had the most negative responses regarding aging? If you said the self-aged group that evaluated their own aging progress, you are right.
Individuals in the self-aged simulation group reported greater aging anxiety and greater aging. They also perceived older adults as less competent and expressed more pity and less envy for older adults. Compared to the stranger-aged group, participants who observed their own age progression were more likely to deny the authenticity of their transformed image.
These results confirm the stereotypes many young people have already accepted about older adults, even negatively stereotyping their own aging in virtual experiences. In this video, young people explain their views regarding their own age progression simulations predicting how they would look in 40 years: