The Framing Effect of Intergenerational Comparison of Technologies on Technophobia Among Older Adults

Wanyu Xi, Xin Zhang, Liat Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Sharing similar negative age stereotypes (e.g., outdated, unfashionable), older adults and older technologies are stereotypically associated with each other. This also was found to be internalized by older adults. Recent research has suggested that internalized negative age stereotypes may be one of the reasons for technophobia among older adults. Therefore, considering the pervasiveness of intergenerational comparison of technologies (e.g., computer vs. tablet) in which older-generation technologies are negatively portrayed, we aim to investigate whether a mere intergenerational comparison of technologies would affect technophobia via negative self-stereotypes activation among older adults. Specifically, 2 commonly seen framings of intergenerational comparison of technologies are examined: contrast framing, which describes opposing intergenerational relationship of technologies; and connect framing, which describes the continuous intergenerational relationship of technologies. Methods: We designed 3 advertisements for a made-up new technological product using contrast framing, connect framing, and neutral framing (where intergenerational comparison was absent). A sample of 284 participants (aged 27-83 years) was gathered online and randomly assigned into the 3 experimental conditions. Self-perception of aging (SPA), technophobia, and potential covariates were measured. Results: The results showed a significant framing × age × gender effect on psychosocial loss dimension of SPA and technophobia. Men were significantly affected by the framing effect as they age, but women were not affected. Contrast framing (vs. connect vs. neutral framing) led to significantly higher technophobia via the psychosocial loss dimension of SPA among older men aged 49 and older. Discussion: The findings have important implications for how to better convey persuasive information to promote new technology adoption among older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1185
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number7
Early online date2021
StatePublished - 5 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.


  • Age stereotype threat
  • Self-perception of aging
  • Technology


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