Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Lise Abrams

Reader 2

Stacey Wood

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Rights Information

© 2019 Anita L Ho


Greenwald, McGhee, and Schwartz (1998) developed the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a measure of mental associations between target pairs and positive or negative attributes. Highly associative categories yield faster responses than the reverse mental associations, which is thought to reflect implicit attitudes toward stereotypes. The present study investigated the effect of ethnic group on one’s implicit attitudes toward aging and gender stereotypes by comparing two groups of older adults, Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans, that likely hold different culture values. Past qualitative studies have established the existence of mental health stigma in Asian American populations, including negative Asian American perceptions of aging, but have not yet established a quantitative measure of this phenomenon. The age-attitude and gender-science IATs were administered to 20 Asian American and 20 Caucasian American older adults in the Southern California region. The results from the age-attitude IAT found that Asian American older adults demonstrated higher implicit bias toward aging, evidenced by faster responses to the category pairings associating “old” + “bad” and “young” + “good”. In contrast, performance on the gender-science IAT was similar for both groups, showing no strong bias toward gender stereotypes. Potential implications on the wellbeing of older adults, as stereotype threat and other forms of bias are already established harmful constructs in the population, are discussed.