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The effects of stereotype threat on pacing older adults learning outcomes

This paper examined the learning performance of elderly adults (N = 51) on a computerized library training task. Participants in a universitys continuous learning program aged 61 to 91 (M = 71.9), were told either that there were age-related differences in computerized library training outcomes (stereotype threat) or that there were no age-related differences (control). Participants were then given a training guide with practice questions to complete either at their own pace in a total of 9 minutes (self-paced) or at a pace of 3 minutes for each of 3 sections (timed) and later tested on their knowledge. Adults in the stereotype threat condition performed significantly better on both the final test and the practice questions than those in the control condition. There were a greater number of unanswered questions in the control condition. The pacing did not have any significant effects. Since there was a training period between the introduction of the stereotype threat and the test, the training may have provided older adults in the stereotype threat condition with a sense of efficacy to do well on the task, allowing for improved performance.

Fritzsche, B. A., DeRouin, R. E., & Salas, E. (2009). The effects of stereotype threat on pacing older adults learning outcomes. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39, 2737-2755.
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