1. Study suggests our trust in strangers is affected by their resemblance to previous acquaintances

    February 17, 2018 by Ashley

    From the New York University press release:

    Our trust in strangers is dependent on their resemblance to others we’ve previously known, finds a new study by a team of psychology researchers. Its results show that strangers resembling past individuals known to be trustworthy are trusted more; by contrast, those similar to others known to be untrustworthy are trusted less.

    The details of the research, conducted at New York University, are reported in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    “Our study reveals that strangers are distrusted even when they only minimally resemble someone previously associated with immoral behavior,” explains the work’s lead author, Oriel FeldmanHall, who led research as a post-doctoral fellow at NYU and who is now an assistant professor in Brown University’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences. “Like Pavlov’s dog, who, despite being conditioned on a single bell, continues to salivate to bells that have similar tones, we use information about a person’s moral character, in this case whether they can be trusted, as a basic Pavlovian learning mechanism in order to make judgments about strangers.”

    “We make decisions about a stranger’s reputation without any direct or explicit information about them based on their similarity to others we’ve encountered, even when we’re unaware of this resemblance,” adds Elizabeth Phelps, a professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and the paper’s senior author. “This shows our brains deploy a learning mechanism in which moral information encoded from past experiences guides future choices.”

    Scientists have a better grasp on how social decision-making unfolds in repeated one-on-one interactions. Less clear, however, is how our brain functions in making these same decisions when interacting with strangers.

    To explore this, the researchers conducted a series of experiments centering on a trust game in which participants make a series of decisions about their partners’ trustworthiness — in this case, deciding whether to entrust their money with three different players who were represented by facial images.

    Here, the subjects knew that any money they invested would be multiplied four times and that the other player could then either share the money back with the subject (reciprocate) or keep the money for himself (defect). Each player was highly trustworthy (reciprocated 93 percent of the time), somewhat trustworthy (reciprocated 60 percent of the time), or not at all trustworthy (reciprocated 7 percent of the time).

    In a second task, the same subjects were asked to select new partners for another game. However, unbeknownst to the subjects, the face of each potential new partner was morphed, to varying degrees, with one of the three original players so the new partners bore some physical resemblance to the previous ones.

    Even though the subjects were not consciously aware that the strangers (i.e., the new partners) resembled those they previously encountered, subjects consistently preferred to play with strangers who resembled the original player they previously learned was trustworthy and avoided playing with strangers resembling the earlier untrustworthy player. Moreover, these decisions to trust or distrust strangers uncovered an interesting and sophisticated gradient: trust steadily increased the more the stranger looked like the trustworthy partner from the previous experiment and steadily decreased the more the stranger looked like the untrustworthy one.

    In a subsequent experiment, the scientists examined the brain activity of the subjects as they made these decisions. Here they found that when deciding whether or not the strangers could be trusted, the subjects’ brains tapped the same neurological regions that were involved when learning about the partner in the first task, including the amygdala — a region that plays a large role in emotional learning. The greater the similarity in neural activity between initially learning about an untrustworthy player and deciding to trust a stranger, the more subjects refused to trust the stranger.

    This finding points to the highly adaptive nature of the brain as it shows we make moral assessments of strangers drawn from previous learning experiences.

    The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Aging (AG 039283), part of the National Institutes of Health.


  2. Study suggests key to willpower lies in believing you have it in abundance

    February 5, 2018 by Ashley

    From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign press release:

    Americans believe they have less stamina for strenuous mental activity than their European counterparts — an indication that people in the U.S. perceive their willpower or self-control as being in limited supply, a new study suggests.

    More than 1,100 Americans and 1,600 Europeans — including 775 Swiss and 871 German-speaking adults — participated in the study, which tested the validity of a widely used psychological assessment tool called the Implicit Theory of Willpower for Strenuous Mental Activities Scale.

    People taking the assessment are asked to rate their level of agreement with statements such as, “After a strenuous mental activity, your energy is depleted, and you must rest to get it refueled again.”

    Americans in the study were more likely to indicate that they needed breaks to rest and recover after performing mentally taxing activities, while their European counterparts reported feeling more invigorated and ready to jump into the next challenging task immediately.

    What matters most is what we think about our willpower,” said the study’s lead author, University of Illinois educational psychology professor Christopher Napolitano. “When we view our willpower as limited, it’s similar to a muscle that gets tired and needs rest. If we believe it is a finite resource, we act that way, feeling exhausted and needing breaks between demanding mental tasks, while people who view their willpower as a limitless resource get energized instead.”

    Napolitano and co-author Veronika Job of the University of Zurich sought to test whether the ITW-M measured the concept of willpower consistently across sexes and different cultures. Participants’ scores on the ITW-M questionnaire were compared with their scores on similar assessments that explored their beliefs about intelligence, life satisfaction and trait self-control, which relates to their ability to rein in their impulses.

    The data indicated that the ITW-M had strong invariance between men and women. The instrument was slightly less consistent across cultures, demonstrating some variance in one of the seven U.S. samples and in one of the five samples of Europeans, the researchers found.

    However, the researchers hypothesized that an imprecise translation of the word “energized” may have skewed some of the Swiss and German participants’ interpretation of one question.

    Why do some people seem locked in a lifelong battle for self-control while others are so self-disciplined — impervious to overeating, overspending or binge-watching TV shows when they feel pressured?

    The secret to having ironclad willpower lies in believing that you have an unlimited supply of it, Napolitano said.

    Your feelings about your willpower affect the way you behave — but these feelings are changeable,” Napolitano said. “Changing your beliefs about the nature of your self-control can have positive effects on development, leading to healthier behaviors and perceptions of others.”

    The study was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.


  3. Study suggests children view people’s behavior, psychological characteristics as shaped by environments

    February 2, 2018 by Ashley

    From the Society for Research in Child Development press release:

    A new study has found that 5- to 6-year-olds view people’s environments, not their skin color, as the most important determinant of their behavior and psychological characteristics. These findings contradict the idea that views of race that are known to lead to prejudice — such as believing that race naturally divides the world into distinct kinds of people — inevitably develop early in childhood. The study also found that the extent to which children endorsed such beliefs varied by the environments in which they were raised, especially exposure to people of different racial-ethnic backgrounds in their neighborhoods.

    The study, by researchers at New York University (NYU) and the University of Amsterdam, is published in the journal Child Development.

    “Our findings suggest that beliefs about race develop over time and in response to particular environments,” explains Tara M. Mandalaywala, a postdoctoral fellow at NYU who led the study. “And that these beliefs vary for children of different backgrounds.”

    Researchers looked at 203 Black and White 5- and 6-year-olds living in New York City and 430 Black and White adults from across the United States. They asked respondents about whether they saw skin color as something that could be inherited, and whether they believed that race determines what people will grow up to be like (e.g., how smart, nice, or athletic they will be). Previous research has not assessed young children’s beliefs about the extent to which race determines a person’s behavioral and psychological characteristics. The study also measured the demographic composition of children’s neighborhoods.

    The researchers found that children viewed skin color as something that could be inherited, but did not endorse the types of beliefs that contribute to stereotyping and prejudice in adults: They expected that a person’s behavioral and psychological properties would be determined by the environment in which he or she was raised, not by inherited race.

    Children’s beliefs about race depended on their exposure to diversity. In particular, children who lived in racially homogeneous neighborhoods held stronger beliefs that race determined behavior than children in more diverse neighborhoods, suggesting that such beliefs are shaped by the environment.

    “Our research suggests that beliefs about race that contribute to prejudice take a long time to develop — when they do — and that their development depends to some extent on the neighborhoods in which children grow up,” says Marjorie Rhodes, professor of psychology at NYU, who coauthored the study. “An important question our study raises is whether such attitudes in children are responsive to exposure to diversity in child care and school settings as well as to diversity in neighborhood environments.”

    The National Institutes of Health funded the study.


  4. Study suggests objectification of women results in lack of empathy

    January 26, 2018 by Ashley

    From the University of Vienna press release:

    Sexualized representations, especially the emphasis of secondary sexual characteristics, can change the way we perceive an individual. An international team of researchers led by Giorgia Silani from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Vienna has shown that empathic feelings and brain responses are reduced when we observe the emotions of sexualized women. The results of the study were recently published in the scientific journal Cortex.

    The way we appear, the way we look, has always been a crucial element in every social interaction, romantic or not. The use of sexualized representations of the individual, with a consequent emphasis on sexual body parts, is, especially in western society, a common way to induce emotions (especially pleasure) with the goal to increase the hedonic value of the associated object (see everyday media advertising). But what are the consequences of such sexualized representation? Social psychology has extensively studied the phenomenon, and concluded that sexualization (or sexual objectification) affects the way we perceive other people, in that it strips them of certain human attributes, such as a moral sense or the capacity to responsibly plan one’s actions. Social psychology also suggests that we perceive differently the emotions expressed by objectified vs. non-objectified individuals.

    A study recently published in Cortex, and led by Giorgia Silani from the University of Vienna, shows that observers have less empathy for sexually objectified women, meaning a diminished capacity to feel and recognize their emotions. This research was carried out in collaboration with Carlotta Cogoni, the first author, from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA-ISAS) in Trieste and the Department of Life Sciences of the University of Trento, and Andrea Carnaghi from the University of Trieste. “The results suggests that the underlying mechanism may be a reduced activation of the brain’s empathy network,” says Giorgia Silani.

    The Study

    While measuring the brain activity of male and female participants with functional magnetic resonance imaging, Cogoni and colleagues elicited negative and positive emotions using a computer controlled ball-tossing task involving situations of inclusion and exclusion from the game. During the game, empathic reactions (in terms of both subjective explicit reports and objective brain activation) were measured toward two different targets: sexually objectified women and non-objectified (personalized) women.

    The scientists found that by simply modifying the type of clothes the actresses were wearing (i.e. with more or less visible body parts/skin), empathic feelings toward women portrayed in a sexually objectified fashion were significantly reduced compared to those shown in a personalized way. “This reduction in empathic feelings towards sexually objectified women was accompanied by reduced activity in empathy related brain areas. This suggests that observers experienced a reduced capacity to share the sexualized women’s emotions,” explains Silani.


  5. Study suggests people with high social status are perceived as insincere when they apologize for a transgression

    January 18, 2018 by Ashley

    From the University of Haifa press release:

    Do we believe apologies by people who have committed a transgression? It depends on their power status. A new international study including the University of Haifa found that people with high social status are perceived as insincere when they apologize for a transgression, relative to people of lower status. “The high-status person is perceived as someone who can control their emotions more effectively and use them strategically, and accordingly they are perceived as less sincere. This perception applies to the world of business and work, and it’s reasonable to assume it applies to politicians, too. The more senior they are, the less authentic their emotions are perceived as being,” says Dr. Arik Cheshin of the University of Haifa, one of the authors of the study.

    The study, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, was undertaken by Dr. Arik Cheshin from the Department of Human Services at the University of Haifa, together with an international team of researchers from the United States and the Netherlands, headed by Prof. Peter Kim of the University of Southern California. In a series of experiments, each involving hundreds of participants, the researchers sought to examine whether the power status of a person who has committed a transgression influences trust in that person and the ability to forgive them.

    In the first part of the experiment, the researchers told the participants about an employee who had been found forging documents, leading to the imposition of a fine on the company. They showed the participants pictures of the employee expressing various emotions in a later staff meeting — happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. The next experiment used video clips showing the same emotions but a different transgression that lead to legal problems. Some of the participants were told that the person involved was a junior employee, while others were told that it was the company’s CEO. In the following experiments, the researchers examined the same situation, but this time relating to a real incident. They showed the participants a real video clip in which the CEO of Toyota cried and apologized for failing to take action, even though he knew there was a problem with the breaks in various vehicles. Again, some of the participants thought that the person was a junior employee, while others were told that he was the CEO.

    The findings showed that in all three cases the CEO’s emotions were perceived as less sincere than those of the junior employee. When the researchers explored the reason for this difference, it emerged that the participants perceived the CEO as someone who can control their emotions and even use them strategically. “The assumption is that the CEO has much more to lose, and accordingly has a stronger motivation to try to use their emotions to create empathy. Accordingly, the participants described them as less sincere.”

    Next, the researchers examined a similar situation, but this time they not only asked who was perceived as more authentic, but also whether there was a difference in terms of the participants’ willingness to forgive a junior or a senior employee in exactly the same situation. They presented the participants with a true case of a CEO who insulted the company’s customers and then posted a video apology on YouTube. Again, some of the participants were told that he was a senior employee and others thought that he was a junior worker.

    Once again, it was found that the CEO was perceived as less sincere and less deserving of forgiveness. The researchers also found that in the case of the junior employee, the participants gave much more detailed explanations as to why the worker should be forgiven.

    “Positions of power come with a disadvantage. The expression of emotions after a transgression are perceived as less authentic and less sincere when they are made by a high-status person. Accordingly, people are less inclined to forgive high-status people than those with lower status. We examined this issue in the context of the business world, but we can certainly apply the conclusions to other spheres, such as politics. The more senior the politician, the more we are inclined to assume that they are better at controlling their emotions and are using emotions strategically. Because we believe that they are trying to achieve something, we perceive them as less sincere in the same situation,” Dr. Cheshin concluded.


  6. Study suggests human-like virtual assistants can deter help-seeking

    January 15, 2018 by Ashley

    From the Association for Psychological Science press release:

    Virtual assistants have become increasingly sophisticated — and more humanlike — since the days when Clippy asked if you needed help with your document. These assistants are intended to make programs and apps easier to use, but research published in Psychological Science suggests that humanlike virtual assistants may actually deter some people from seeking help on tasks that are supposed to measure achievementPsychological Science is a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

    “We demonstrate that anthropomorphic features may not prove beneficial in online learning settings, especially among individuals who believe their abilities are fixed and who thus worry about presenting themselves as incompetent to others,” says psychological scientist and study author Daeun Park of Chungbuk National University. “Our results reveal that participants who saw intelligence as fixed were less likely to seek help, even at the cost of lower performance.”

    Previous research has shown that people are inclined to see computerized systems as social beings with only a couple social cues. This social dynamic can make the systems seem less intimidating and more user-friendly, but Park and coauthors Sara Kim and Ke Zhang wondered whether that would be true in a context where performance matters, such as with online learning platforms.

    “Online learning is an increasingly popular tool across most levels of education and most computer-based learning environments offer various forms of help, such as a tutoring system that provides context-specific help,” says Park. “Often, these help systems adopt humanlike features; however, the effects of these kinds of help systems have never been tested.”

    In one online study, the researchers had 187 participants complete a task that supposedly measured intelligence. In the task, participants saw a group of three words (e.g., room, blood, salts) and were supposed to come up with a fourth word that related to all three (e.g., bath). On the more difficult problems, they automatically received a hint from an onscreen computer icon — some participants saw a computer “helper” with humanlike features including a face and speech bubble, whereas others saw a helper that looked like a regular computer.

    Participants reported greater embarrassment and concerns about self-image when seeking help from the anthropomorphized computer versus the regular computer, but only if they believed that intelligence is a fixed, not malleable trait.

    The findings indicated that a couple of anthropomorphic cues are sufficient to elicit concern about seeking help, at least for some individuals. Park and colleagues decided to test this directly in a second experiment with 171 university students.

    In the experiment, the researchers manipulated how the participants thought about intelligence by having them read made-up science articles that highlighted either the stability or the malleability of intelligence. The participants completed the same kind of word problems as in the first study — this time, they freely chose whether to receive a hint from the computer “helper.”

    The results showed that students who were led to think about intelligence as fixed were less likely to use the hints when the helper had humanlike features than when it didn’t. More importantly, they also answered more questions incorrectly. Those who were led to think about intelligence as a malleable trait showed no differences.

    These findings could have implications for our performance using online learning platforms, the researchers conclude:

    “Educators and program designers should pay special attention to unintended meanings that arise from humanlike features embedded online learning features,” says Park. “Furthermore, when purchasing educational software, we recommend parents review not only the contents but also the way the content is delivered.”

     


  7. Danger changes how rat brain stores information

    by Ashley

    From the Society for Neuroscience press release:

    The male rat brain changes how it stores information depending on whether the environment in which it learns is safe or dangerous, according to new research published in eNeuro.

    Emotionally charged information, such as danger, is processed by the amygdala. Although this brain region is typically not involved in the acquisition of harmless information, Nathan Holmes and colleagues previously showed that the amygdala is sensitive to the context in which rats learn an association between two neutral stimuli, a sound and a light. This learning was revealed when one stimulus was subsequently paired with a mild foot shock: rats exhibited freezing when finally tested with both stimuli, indicating that they had associated the stimulus that was not paired with a shock with the stimulus that was.

    Using a similar approach in this study, the researchers demonstrate that the perirhinal cortex — a region in the medial temporal lobe — was involved in consolidating the association between the two stimuli when the rats were trained in a safe and familiar environment. On the other hand, the basolateral complex of the amygdala was involved in consolidating the same association when it was learned in a context where the rats had been previously shocked, thereby rendering the environment dangerous at the time of learning. This same region was also required for consolidation when the environment was safe at the time of learning, but rendered dangerous immediately after training.


  8. Study suggests children’s perception of gender appropriate colors is affected by gender labels

    January 14, 2018 by Ashley

    From the Springer press release:

    Two researchers from the University of Hong Kong suggest that toymakers and parents avoid gender-labelling toys, remove colour divides, and manufacture toys for both boys and girls in a wide range of colours. Sui Ping Yeung and Wang Ivy Wong’s study is published in Springer’s journal Sex Roles, and shows how easily preschoolers’ ideas about what is appropriate for their gender is manipulated. Their study is also the first to show that a boy’s preference for blue and a girl’s liking of pink is not just a Western construct, but is also a phenomenon in urban Asian societies.

    The researchers recruited 129 preschool Chinese children aged between five and seven from two kindergartens in Hong Kong. First the researchers assessed the children’s preference for pink versus blue by showing them cards and toys in these colours. Then the children were presented with yellow and green cards and toys. They were randomly divided into so-called label and no-label groups.

    Children in the no-label group were presented with coloured cards and toys which had no reference to a specific gender and these children consequently expressed no preference for a specific colour. However, preschoolers in the label group were told that yellow was a girl’s colour and green a boys’ colour, and corresponding gender differences emerged in the choices they made.

    Apart from randomly assigning children to these two groups, the children’s pre-existing preferences for yellow and green were statistically controlled, so the resulting difference between the groups speaks strongly to a causal effect of the gender labels.

    According to the researchers, the gender differences between preferred colours in children is noteworthy because it is so much more prominent than most other psychological differences between the sexes.

    “Our findings support the notion that gender-typed liking for pink versus blue is a particularly salient gender difference,” explains Yeung. “Moreover, our findings reveal that gender differences could be created merely by applying gender labels.”

    “By applying gender labels, not only concrete materials such as toys could become gender-typed, but also abstract qualities such as colours, with children increasing or decreasing their likings for particular colours based on the gender labels available in their social environment,” Wong says.

    The findings support previous research that highlighted the strong influence that gender labels such as “for boys” or “for girls” might have. Further, the observations are in line with gender schema theory that says that once children have learnt a specific gender identity, their behaviour will be guided by the standards set as being appropriate for their specific sex. These will guide them later in life on how they interact and adapt to their surroundings, for instance, when taking on chores around the house, such as cooking, cleaning or repairing things.

    Wong also commented on the cultural angle of this study: “Many gender differences and stereotypes in developed Asian regions resemble those in the West, which is not surprising given the high degree of Westernization and the prevalence of gender colour-coding typical of Western cultures in Hong Kong.”

    The study also goes beyond investigating why boys and girls prefer different colours. The researchers also tested whether using gender-coded colours in toys affects how well children play. The children were given yellow and green puzzles to play with. Whether the puzzles were in the gender appropriate or gender inappropriate colour did not make a difference in the children’s puzzle performance.

    However, the researchers caution against using this finding to support the use of gender-coded colours to increase sales. The results showed that boys and girls performed equally well but if they had been exposed to gender labels, regardless of whether they received the gender appropriate or gender inappropriate coloured puzzles, a gender difference emerged, with boys outperforming girls.


  9. Study suggests frequent payments can make consumers feel better about their purchase

    January 8, 2018 by Ashley

    From the University of Chicago Booth School of Business press release:

    Merchants and charities alike understand that advertising their product for “just pennies a day” is an effective way to convince consumers to make a purchase.

    New research from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds that frequent payments can also make consumers feel better about the benefits they are receiving from their purchase.

    In the study, “Periodic Pricing and Perceived Contract Benefits,” forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research, Chicago Booth Associate Professor Daniel Bartels and University of Rhode Island’s Stephen Atlas find that the payment frequency of a contract affects how consumers imagine the benefits they would receive over time. In sum, periodic prices — dividing the purchase price into daily payments instead of one yearly payment — can increase perceived benefits.

    “More frequent payments can help people appreciate recurring pleasures and increase the likelihood of purchasing,” the study said.

    The researchers also find evidence that consumers respond positively to per-day pricing even for costly goods, such as automobiles and meal delivery subscription services. The finding contrasts longstanding views that marketers should never subdivide an expensive product into a collection of payments.

    To examine how periodic pricing influences purchase decisions, the researchers conducted nine experiments. The studies asked participants to consider either a daily cost or a yearly cost of items including charitable donations, newspaper subscriptions, music streaming services, car leases, and meal deliveries.

    In one study, participants were given a scenario in which they could lease a luxury car for the periodic price of $20 a day or the aggregate price of $7,250 a year. The participants were not only more likely to agree to the lease when presented with the periodic price, but they also reported greater perceived benefits.

    In another study, the researchers found periodic pricing produced a 77 percent increase in sales for a meal delivery service.

    “Our framework and results suggest that periodic pricing can help people appreciate the benefits they accrue from a purchase,” the researchers said in the paper. “So, under the right conditions, marketers can encourage purchase with periodic pricing, even for significant sums of money.”


  10. Study suggests quality of contact with grandparents is key to youths’ views of ageism

    January 7, 2018 by Ashley

    From the Society for Research in Child Development press release:

    Ageism — stereotypes that lead to prejudice and discrimination against older people — occurs frequently in young adults and can be seen in children as young as 3. A new study from Belgium sought to identify the factors underlying this form of discrimination. It found that ageist stereotypes in children and adolescents generally decrease around ages 10 to 12, and that young people who say they have very good contact with their grandparents have the lowest levels of ageism.

    The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Liege in Belgium, appears in the journal Child Development.

    “The most important factor associated with ageist stereotypes was poor quality of contact with grandparents,” explains Allison Flamion, a PhD student in psychology at the University of Liege, who led the research team. “We asked children to describe how they felt about seeing their grandparents. Those who felt unhappy were designated as having poor quality of contact. When it came to ageist views, we found that quality of contact mattered much more than frequency.”

    To assess aspects of ageism, the researchers studied 1,151 children and adolescents ages 7 to 16 in the French-speaking part of Belgium; the youths were primarily White, from urban and rural areas, and from a range of socioeconomic statuses. In questionnaires, the researchers asked the youths their thoughts on getting old and about the elderly. They also collected information about the health of the youths’ grandparents, how often the two generations met, and how the young people felt about their relationships with their grandparents.

    In general, views on the elderly expressed by the children and adolescents were neutral or positive. Girls had slightly more positive views than boys; girls also tended to view their own aging more favorably, the researchers note.

    Ageist stereotypes fluctuated with the ages of the youths studied, with 7- to 9-year-olds expressing the most prejudice and 10- to 12-year-olds expressing the least, the study found. This finding mirrors other forms of discrimination (e.g., those related to ethnicity or gender) and is in line with cognitive-developmental theories: For example, acquiring perspective-taking skills around age 10 reduces previous stereotypes. With ageism, prejudice seemed to reappear when the participants in this study reached their teen years: 13- to 16-year-olds also had high levels of ageism.

    Grandparents’ health was also a factor in youths’ views on ageism: Young people with grandparents in poor health were more likely to hold ageist views than youths with grandparents in better health.

    The most important factor influencing youths’ views of the elderly was the quality of their contact with their grandparents. The study characterized youths’ contact as good or very good when they said they felt happy or very happy (respectively) when they saw and shared with their grandparents. Those who described their contact with grandparents as good or very good had more favorable feelings toward the elderly than those who described the contact less positively. Furthermore, the benefit of meaningful contact occurred in both children with the lowest level of ageism and those with the highest level, and boys seemed to benefit more than girls from high-quality contact.

    Frequency of contact, while mattering considerably less, also played a role: 10- to 12-year-olds who saw their grandparents at least once a week had the most favorable views toward the elderly, likely because of the multiplying effect of frequency with quality, the researchers suggest.

    “For many children, grandparents are their first and most frequent contact with older adults,” notes Stephane Adam, professor of psychology at the University of Liege, who coauthored the study. “Our findings point to the potential of grandparents to be part of intergenerational programs designed to prevent ageism. Next, we hope to explore what makes contacts with grandparents more rewarding for their grandchildren as well as the effects on children of living with or caring for their grandparents.”