Literacy and perceptions of aging: Evidence from the Dani in Papua

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Abstract

It has been hypothesized that an increase in literacy within a society is associated with more negative perceptions of aging and older adults. The present study empirically tested this premise among the Dani in West Papua. Sixty-one Dani participants were asked to nominate two individuals within each of the following categories: (1) most respected, (2) best source of life advice, and (3) most satisfied with life. They also reported the age and gender of the nominees. Literacy was associated with nominating younger targets in the life advice and life satisfaction categories. These results add evidence that literacy is associated with perceptions of older adults. We conclude by discussing the scholarly and practical implications of these findings.

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Sorokowski, P., Oleszkiewicz, A., Löckenhoff, C. E., Kowal, M., Frackowiak, T., & Malecki, W. P. (2022). Literacy and perceptions of aging: Evidence from the Dani in Papua. Language and Communication, 82, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2021.11.003

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