Age Differences in Visual Attention When Experiencing Workplace Conflicts

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2017


Titlethe 15th European Congress of Psychology
Period11 - 14 July 2017


Objectives:Nowadays, employees have plenty of opportunities to work with employees fromother age groups. The findings of past research suggest that behavioralreactions to workplace conflict may vary by age of the employee and theconflict partner. However, it remains unclear whether older and younger workershave different looking patterns when experiencing a conflict situation.Accordingly, this study makes use of the eye tracking method to objectivelycompare visual attention patterns of younger and older workers when they areexperiencing hypothetical intergenerational conflicts in the workplace.

Method:Younger (20-35 years) and older (50-65 years) Chinese workers were invited totake part in an eye tracking study. After arriving the psychology laboratory,the participants were first asked to fill in their personal information,followed by calibration using the ASL Model D6 eye tracker. Each participantwas presented with two video vignettes depicting an intergenerational conflictin the workplace. The main character in each video vignette was matched withthe age group and gender of the participant. The hypothetical conflicts wereabout dissatisfaction with the work-related behaviors of a coworker of anotherage group. The presentation order of the two videos were randomized.

Results:Visual attention patterns were compared between younger and older workers.Preliminary analyses on 61 working adults showed that the two age groups didnot vary in looking at the neutral stimuli (e.g., background objects) whenexperiencing the hypothetical workplace conflicts. However, older workersfixated less on negative facial expression of the two characters than didyounger workers [t(59) = 2.048, p = .045].

Conclusion:Findings of this study reveal that older adults are less likely to focus onnegative stimuli than younger workers when encountering an intergenerationalconflict in the workplace. These results will be discussed in relation to agedifferences in conflict management strategies.

Bibliographic Note

Research Unit(s) information for this publication is provided by the author(s) concerned.

Citation Format(s)

Age Differences in Visual Attention When Experiencing Workplace Conflicts. / YEUNG, Dannii; ISAACOWITZ, Derek; YE, Jiawen.

2017. Paper presented at the 15th European Congress of Psychology, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)