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Data from: Does older adults' cognitive function disrupt the malleability of their attitudes toward outgroup members?: an fMRI investigation

Citation

Krendl, Anne C.; Kensinger, Elizabeth A. (2017), Data from: Does older adults' cognitive function disrupt the malleability of their attitudes toward outgroup members?: an fMRI investigation, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g08m0

Abstract

In the current study we examine how individual differences in older adults’ global cognitive function impacts the extent to which their attitudes toward stigmatized individuals are malleable. Because prior research has elucidated the neural processes that are involved in evaluating stigmatized individuals who are responsible or not responsible for their condition, a cognitive neuroscience approach may be well-suited to answer this question. In the current study, 36 older and 17 young adults underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while evaluating images of homeless people who were described as being responsible or not responsible for their condition. They also indicated how much pity they felt for each of the individuals in order to determine the extent to which their attitudes were malleable (e.g., more pity for not-responsible as compared to responsible individuals). Participants’ cognitive function and baseline measure of their attitudes toward stigmatized individuals (including homeless individuals) were assessed. Results revealed that although older adults’ attitudes were malleable, the extent to which this was true varied due to individual differences in their global cognitive function. Specifically, the difference in the magnitude of older adults’ self-reported pity for not-responsible as compared to responsible homeless individuals was predicted by their global cognitive function. Moreover, the difference in pity that older adults expressed toward not-responsible as compared to responsible homeless individuals was related to activity in the left insula and the anterior cingulate cortex (regions implicated in empathy). These results suggest that attitude malleability is affected by individual differences in global cognitive function.

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