Kimberly Man Min Xi
Supervisors: Dr Polly Chen, Dr Wong Hoo Keat and Dr Yvonne Leung (University of New South Wales)
Ageism is defined as the systematic prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping of one age group against another on the basis of one’s chronological age. Older adults are generally perceived more negatively by the younger generations. Unlike other forms of prejudice (e.g., sexual or racial), ageism has become accepted and institutionalised, and this may be a cause of concern in Malaysia as it becomes an ageing nation by 2030.
One of the predictors of ageism is ageing anxiety. Defined as the fear and negative feelings associated with growing older, this phenomenon is manifested due to negative expectations and self-perceptions of ageing among younger generations. Ageing anxiety includes one's concerns with changes in physical appearance with increasing age (e.g., brow ptosis, forehead wrinkles). These facial ageing cues are found to directly influence face processing and are cues to age-related stereotypes.
However, many studies that looked into ageing anxiety and ageism are susceptible to social desirability effects as they were conducted using various subjective self-report measures. To date, no studies in South East Asia have investigated ageing anxiety by using implicit measures such as eye-tracking and self-aged face.
My research aims to investigate the implicit levels of ageing anxiety and attitudes of young adults towards older adults in Malaysia. To achieve this, the eye movements (e.g., fixation and gaze patterns) of participants will be explored as they view the “present” and the software-generated “aged” faces of the self, their friend and strangers. I hope to generate more objective methodologies to understand the attitudes of the young towards the older generations, in order to facilitate better intergenerational interactions and healthier ageing among older adults.