"Sharp!": Lurking incoherence in a television portrayal of an older adult

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article examined an intergenerational interaction from a popular television show in two ways. First, a detailed textual analysis illustrated (a) the salience of age in the interaction, (b) (counter-) stereotypical elements of the older adults' portrayal, (c) intergenerational connections achieved within the interaction, and (d) the use of age stereotypes in the script's humorous punch line. The punch line featured the previously alert older adult showing signs of confusion - here termed lurking incoherence. Second, an experimental study showed that the punch line of the clip influenced specific evaluations of the older person in the show, but did not influence general attitudes towards older adults. It was also shown that individuals with more positive general attitudes towards older adults evaluated the older character particularly negatively when they were exposed to the punch line. The ways in which viewers actively process media portrayals of intergroup communication are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-140
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of '"Sharp!": Lurking incoherence in a television portrayal of an older adult'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this