Disentangling stereotypes towards older age groups : Evidence from factorial survey experiments in China and the US

Chunyan MAI*, Dan CHEN*, Francisco Javier OLIVOS RAVE, Amber X. CHEN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Introduction: Older adults are usually perceived as warmer but less competent than younger adults. This study examined how these stereotypes are related to domain-specific attributes and how individuals’ values may moderate the association. Methods: We recruited 560 Chinese participants (Mean age (SD): 23.14 ± 7.08 years old, ranging from 18 to 60 years old) and 479 American participants (Mean age (SD): 31.37 ± 7.19 years old, ranging from 18 to 57 years old). Participants rated perceived warmth and competence of older adults based on vignettes with varying descriptions of specific domains (i.e. three relational domains: number of friends, family relationship quality and engagement in neighbourhood activities; and three individualistic domains: income, depression and memory) and personal attributes (i.e. gender, age, and independence). Results: Firstly, the results showed that relational life domains predict warmth, whereas individualistic domains predict competence in both samples from China and the US. Secondly, in both samples, people with higher communal values attributed more relevance to relational domains on judgement of warmth. Lastly, only in the US sample did people with higher agentic values attribute more relevance to individualistic domains on judgement of competence. Discussion/Conclusion: The study revealed that personal values, when determined relatively, contribute to stereotypes of older adults in the two independent samples.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date19 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2023


  • age stereotypes
  • factorial survey
  • stereotype content
  • peersonal values
  • domain-specific attributes


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