ch10

Psychology in Action

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by rambling, presenting irrelevant discussion material, and becoming generally inattentive. Raters exposed to a tape recording of the three-member interaction also judged the third party (the "Oldster") as somewhat senile. As a classroom demonstration, there are numerous possibilities for variations of this technique. The triads can come from an actual classroom and be evaluated at once, or they can be presented visually on tapes, or even audiotapes. This simulation is an effective lead-in to discussions of several important concepts in social, clinical, and developmental psychology. The students' behavior toward the "Oldster" can be used to discuss stereotypes of and discrimination against the elderly, while the "Oldster's" behavior can be discussed in terms of disengagement and activity theory of aging. Instructor's Resource Guide                               Chapter 10                                          Page  51        
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From a behavioral-clinical point of view, the results can be discussed in terms of learned helplessness, and from a learning theorist’s viewpoint, "senile" behaviors such as repetitive story telling, rambling, and inattentiveness may simply be the results of misplaced rewards and punishments. In following the cultural dictum of "respect for our elders," we give elders a certain amount of attention despite their inappropriate behavior, and we seldom, if ever, argue with them or present negative consequences which might weaken such behavior. Above all, this simulation dramatically demonstrates the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy in the aging process. If fifteen to thirty minutes of being treated as if you're old can produce traditional symptoms of senility (rambling, irrelevant conversations), what happens after years of this treatment? Students should consider the following: Why not attempt to reverse the outcome of this vicious cycle by changing society's attitude toward the elderly? For after all, if people really do become the way we treat them, ought we not treat them in the way that promotes what we want them to become? Instructor's Resource Guide                               Chapter 10                                          Page  52        
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   L ecture E xtenders 1 - The Problem of Teenage Pregnancy This chapter, in discussing the problem of teenage pregnancy, refers to the article, "Teenage Pregnancy and Childbearing," by Furstenberg, Brooks-Gunn, and Chase-Lansdale (1989). Since this was only one issue in a wide variety of developmental topics that needed chapter coverage, the material, of necessity, was brief. As teenage pregnancy is viewed as a national social problem that will not fade away in the near future, it seems desirable to further elaborate on the material from this comprehensive article.
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