Scholars’ Week Analysis

This past week, my PR Strategy & Implementation class was required to attend one of my university’s sessions during Scholars’ Week. The speaker was actually my freshman year RA, Madison Badiac, and her research topic was “Age and Gender Biases Students’ Willingness and Likelihood to Pay Attention in Chapel.”

As we do research before launching a PR campaign, Badiac did some research before diving into her topic. She first studied “Age of Faces Matter” by Ebner in 2010. This study analyzed the importance of faces and showcased that people would rather look at faces more related to their age. This study measured results on the criteria of attractiveness, likability, distinctiveness, goal-orientation, energy, mood, and age.

The next study was on “Ambivalent Ageism” by Cary, Chasteen, and Remedios in 2016. This is where there can be an impact of impressions of older vs. younger individuals. These impacts could be ranked as benevolent or hostile as well as analyzed on a scale that measured the prejudices to older individuals. This was also a study done on “Ambivalent Sexism” by Glick and Fiske in 1996. This measured impacts the same as the previous study.

Now Badiac’s study was based off of these three she researched, where she wanted to see if there was a bias on the age and gender of different chapel speakers. Each week before the following week’s chapel, their faces are portrayed on chapel slides. Badiac’s hypothesis was that there would be a two-way interaction between the speaker’s gender and age to viewers. She believed viewers would be less likely to pay attention to older speakers.

She then researched chapel speakers over the past six semesters, totally 62 past speakers. Out of these 62, there were only 8 females ones. For her study, she had users rank images and used a series of four images to measure bias (one older male, one younger male, one older female, one younger female). She asked six general questions, 22 questions related to ambivalent ageism, 20 questions relating to views on those older, 18 questions related to users need for cognition, and then she assessed them on a likert scale of 1-10.

Badiac emailed her survey monkey out to attempt to get a 2x2x2 mix, and her results gave her a three-way interaction. She did have low male participation with only two participants, but her general response is that both males and females want to listen to someone closer to their age.

The overall consensus was that female students are more willing to pay attention to chapel speakers who are in their same gender and age group. With a university extremely female dominated, I say we should probably take this study into account for chapel speakers down the road.


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