Stereotypes are ideas and beliefs about characteristics or clusters of traits that are ascribed to all members of a specific group. Stereotypes can serve as a cognitive shortcut because they presume all members of a group (e.g., race, gender, age) share the same characteristics. However, such thinking, which stems from preconceived notions, often ignores actual information about a particular individual’s unique qualities. Stereotypes about age are complex—most are negative, but some are mixed and on rare occasion positive. Negative stereotypes about older adults can manifest themselves in ageism, which often results in discrimination in contexts such as employment or plays a role in how older adults are treated in general.

People who hold stereotypes about others or even about members of their own group may be ...

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