Grans may help keep kids away from developing negative age stereotypes

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Washington, Aug 21 (ANI): The affectionate bond between kids and their grandmothers is well known. And now, a new study has revealed that frequent visits to nana's place could keep toddlers away from developing negative old age stereotypes.

A variety of negative stereotypes are attributed to the elderly such as they are considered forgetful, hard-of-hearing, absent-minded and confused.

Lead researcher Sheree Kwong See from University of Alberta has identified that those stereotypes exist in some children at the age two and three, which could adversely affect them when they are older.

"We've been able to show really early on that kids, when they're just starting to talk, have established beliefs about older people," said Kwong See.

"We're seeing what we could call ageism by about age three," she added.

Kwong See and fellow researcher Elena Nicoladis measured the reactions of young children after being quizzed on vocabulary words by either an older or younger adult.

It showed that children who had less exposure to older adults had a stronger language bias against the older person than those who had more exposure to older people.

"If you are interacting with 'nana' more frequently, you'll start to see that she's a pretty good teacher of words even though she's old," said Kwong See.

"When you have little contact dominant negative cultural stereotypes emerge. You think an older person isn't as alert or in-the-know as a young person and maybe is not as good a teacher," she added.

However, Kwong See warns that frantic trips to grandmother's house to curb the bias, is not the sole factor.

"They're getting negative images of aging from cartoons, from their story books, from watching how other people interact with seniors," she said.

"But, they're also starting to pick up some of the positive images as well if they get lots of good interactions," she added.

The study is published in the journal Educational Gerontology. (ANI)

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