ERIC Number: ED255792
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Influence of Communicative Effectiveness on Evaluations of Younger and Older Adult Speakers.
Ryan, Ellen Bouchard; Johnston, Dierdre G.
Earlier research has shown that young adults exhibit less favorable reactions to older speakers than to peers, especially on the competence dimension. To examine the role of speaker effectiveness in modifying evaluations of younger and older adults, undergraduates (N=80) received a map of a hospital floor plan and listened to either an effective or an ineffective taped text describing a route on the map. Texts were read by older and younger adult males. Subjects estimated the speaker's age and rated the speaker on accuracy of directions, competence, benevolence, social class, perceived belief similarity, and social distance. Results showed that along the competence dimension, the overwhelming difference in communication effectiveness was the only significant factor. Thus, concrete information about an individual's abilities largely outweighed any initial impressions related to age stereotyping. Along the benevolence dimension, however, communication ineffectiveness did not lead to significantly less favorable benevolence judgments of older adults. For this second key interpersonal dimension, age stereotyping did attenuate the influence of communication performance. This influence occurred even though speakers were perceived, on the average, to be middle-aged. The particular downgrading of the young ineffective speaker was as predicted. Contrary to expectation, no evidence for upgrading the older effective speaker was observed. (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (37th, San Antonio, TX, November 16-20, 1984). This research was supported by a grant from the Gerontological Research Council on Ontario.