The article entitled “Three Men, Three Ages. Which Do You Like?” which was written by Michael Winerip (2013) and published online in The New York Times on July 22, 2013 presented relevant and interesting issues pertaining to social psychology, particularly focusing on gender and age prejudices in the work setting. The article focused on presenting results of a study conducted by Princeton researchers which involved the participation of three Princeton actors, named Max, with diverse age ranges: 25, 45, and 75 years old.
The aim of the study was to determine factors that could be contributory to age discrimination in the work place. According to the article, the participants in the study were composed of 137 undergraduate students of Princeton. These participants were apparently shown a video of a man, who was told that this person would be their partner in a trivia contest. The participants were apparently not informed that there were three Maxes, as identified in different ages. The study involved these Maxes to relay a specifically prescribed script. However, half of the time, these actors were told to relay a message that describes himself as either compliant or assertive, to wit: “When describing himself, half of the time the Max character said he was the kind of person to share his wealth with relatives (the compliant Max); and the other half of the time, Max said he felt no obligation to share (the assertive Max)” (Winerip, 2013, par. 5).
The findings revealed that majority of the students’ perception reportedly gave the 75 year old Max negative feedback when he delivered the assertive script. However, the 25 year-old and 45 year-old Maxes were not given any negative feedback even when they delivered the assertive script. This is therefore indicative of the fact that with age comes bias and prejudices depending on how the person projects himself or herself to others.
As disclosed, the findings would be published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin to cleary illustrate that there has been proven evidence supportive of age biases in the work setting. Therefore, the information contained in the article could be analyzed in terms of concept of prejudice; as well as social and personal perception, learned from the course.
Although it has been repeatedly announced and despite labor laws, particularly OSHA regulations that clearly stipulate the need for employers not to discriminate against workers on the basis of age, race, gender, or other cultural and religious affiliations, apparently, contemporary statistics of claims against discrimination in the work place have proven that discrimination still exists. As revealed from the article, “the older generation, those born from 1946 to 1964, accounts for the fastest-growing segment of workplace discrimination claims. In 2012, 22,875 people filed age claims with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, compared with 15,875 in 1997” (Winerip, 2013, par. 15). Therefore, it clearly attests that age discrimination pervades contemporary society and the increasing trend in discrimination claims from this segment should provide crucial information to policymakers to address the dilemma.
This concern in a relevant social psychological concern since social and personal perceptions of members of society make a significant influence and impact on other sectors or segments (the old or aged) in terms of an aspect that should have been avoided (prejudice and discrimination). Current laws and regulations are even designed to ensure that the aged are provided with support since they were once the producive workforce who contributed significantly the any nation’s social and economic growth and development. Thus, information from the article enhanced the readers’ awareness that prejudice and age biases continues to exist and needs to be appropriately and immediatey addressed.
Winerip, M. (2013, July 22). Three Men, Three Ages. Which Do You Like? Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/booming/three-men-three-ages-who-do-you-like.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0