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Harnessing Cognitive Dissonance to Promote Positive Attitudes Toward Older Workers in Australia


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Eyal Gringart, School of Psychology, Edith Cowan University, 100 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup, 6027, Western Australia. E-mail:


Negative stereotyping of older workers has been identified as a major factor in employment discrimination against them. A study of Australian employers’ attitudes toward older workers found systematic negative stereotyping and low likelihood of hiring older workers. The current study employed a national random sample of 267 employers, and tested 3 interventions aimed at promoting positive attitudes toward older workers and increasing the likelihood of their hiring. The first intervention was in the form of a fact sheet; the second aimed at inducing cognitive dissonance; and the third was a combination of the two. The combination intervention produced promising results. Employers in this condition showed more favorable attitudes toward older workers overall, and greater preference toward hiring older workers.

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