From a practical perspective, research on stereotypes also suggests that healthy older adults are capable of more effective cognitive functioning when operating within a facilitative social context. Thus, another important topic is identifying those conditions in which positive stereotypes serve a beneficial and protective function that may enhance both the performance of older adults and others’ perceptions of the elderly. The complicated roles played by gender; socioeconomic status; and racial, ethnic, and cultural identities in the development, internalization, and rejection of ageist stereotypes also require further investigation. The overall challenge is to develop a more nuanced understanding of the mechanisms underlying both explicit and implicit stereotypes and their effects on society and the functioning of older people.



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