The interwebs is a fascinating and amazing time-waster, especially on cleaning day…
Don't ask how I got there, but today I found myself reading this psychology paper from UIUC. It had a description of an interesting set of psychological experiments wherein college students were "primed" with certain social concepts, such as politeness or rudeness, and their subsequent actions were analyzed to see if the priming had any effect.
And what, pray tell, could this POSSIBLY have to do with knitting?
Oh, I'll tell you.
…the priming manipulation took the form of a scrambled-sentence task … We constructed two versions… one elderly prime version, which contained words related to the elderly stereotype, and another, neutral version.
For the elderly prime version, the critical stimuli were worried, Florida, old, lonely, grey, selfishly, careful, sentimental, wise, stubborn, courteous, bingo, withdraw, forgetful, retired, wrinkle, rigid, traditional, bitter, obedient, conservative, knits, dependent, ancient, helpless, gullible, cautious, and alone. These prime words were obtained from previous research that examined the components of the elderly stereotype (Brewer, Dull, & Lui, 1981; Harris & Associates, 1975; McTavish, 1971; Perdue & Gurtman, 1990).
Well. Looks like I can now add "bitter" to the list of elderly traits I've got a handle on.
There may be some hope, though, because this paper was written in 1996 — 14 years ago. I'm wondering if knitting is still so strongly associated with the elderly that it's one of exactly two actual activities in the list. Somebody ought to do some updated research on that.
I mean, things have changed a LOT in 14 years. I notice "computers" isn't on the list of elderly words, but we knitters have tons of knitting sites and blogs, Knitty and Ravelry; we have words and activities like "yarnbombing" that don't strike me as especially elderly things to do.
Perhaps, just perhaps, there may also have been a change in the way knitting is viewed by the general public?
We can only hope, or we'll all end up in Florida — where I doubt there is much use for MOHAIR — lonely, and wrinkled. But courteous.
Hey, anybody wanna go to bingo?