Stereotype Threat Strengthens Automatic Recall and Undermines Controlled Processes in the Elderly


  • Mazerolle Marie
  • Régner Isabelle
  • Morisset Pauline
  • Rigalleau François
  • Huguet Pascal


  • Stereotype Threat
  • Aging
  • Memory
  • Automatic and Controlled Processes

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The threat of being judged stereotypically (stereotype threat or ST) may impair memory performance in the elderly, resulting in inflated age differences in memory tasks. However, the underlying mechanisms of ST in the elderly or other stigmatized groups remain poorly understood. Here, we offer evidence that ST consumes working memory resources in the elderly. More importantly, we rely on a process dissociation procedure (PDP) and show for the first time that ST undermines the controlled use of memory and simultaneously intensifies automatic response tendencies. These new findings indicate that seemingly concurrent models of ST are actually compatible, and offer further reasons to pay special attention to aging stereotypes during standardized neuropsychological testing.

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