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Jaye Atkinson

Associate Professor    Associate Professor and Associate Chair    

Ph.D. University of Kansas, 1996
M.A. University of Kansas, 1993
B.A. Miami University, 1990


Communication and Aging, Portrayals of Older Adults, Language of Ageism, Intergroup and Interpersonal Communication


Jaye L. Atkinson’s research focuses on the intersection of communication and stereotypes of older adults. Some of her research analyzes how communication perpetuates/negates stereotypes (e.g., the phrase “senior moment”), and in other research, she examines how stereotypes influence how people speak to older adults.

Dr. Atkinson’s most recent publications seek to understand the intersection of communication and age stereotypes by focusing on mediated portrayals. In addition to an article examining the influence of race and age stereotypes on communication and competence, she has examined mediated portrayals of older athletes and older characters in various movies, including blockbuster hit movies and Disney animated films). She has published internationally regarding the portrayals of older adults in advertising. In addition, she is working on a book, “Talking Age: Examining the (Not So) Subtle Language of Ageism across Mediated Contexts” (under contract with Peter Lang). These projects build on past research she has conducted identifying stereotypes of older adults and examining patronizing speech toward older adults.

Her research appears in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Journal of Aging Studies, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Discourse Processes, Human Communication Research, Psychology and Aging, Research on Aging, Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, and Communication Studies.  Dr. Atkinson has also served as chair of the NCA Communication and Aging Division. She has received two internal grants from GSU (2006-2007 GSU Research Equipment Grant and 2005-2006 Research Initiation Grant). Dr. Atkinson was the 2006 recipient of the Gerontology Institute’s Distinguished Faculty Award, given in part for her leadership in developing its (then) new M.A. graduate program. More recently, she led the Department of Communication through Academic Program review and the creation of a new MA program in Digital Media Strategies which is thriving.


Atkinson, J.L. (2019). A Global Perspective on Older Adults in Advertising. In F.J. Whittington & S. Kunkel (Eds.), Global Aging, 2nd Edition. New York: Springer Publishing.

Atkinson, J.L. (2018). [Review of the book Advances in Intergroup Communication]. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, DOI: 10.1177/0261927X18787563.

Bower, K., Kemp, C., Burgess, E.O., & Atkinson, J.L. (2018). Complexity of Care: Stressors and strengths among low income mother-daughter dyads, Journal of Women & Aging, DOI: 10.1080/08952841.2018.1537689

Atkinson, J.L. & Plew, M.S. (2017). Present, perceived as old, but not memorable: Analysis and perceptions of older characters in animated Disney films. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 7(6), 1-12.

Atkinson, J.L., & Sloan, R. (2017). Exploring the impact of age, race, and stereotypes on perceptions of language performance, competence, and patronizing speech. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 36, 287-305. First published online August 16, 2016. doi:10.1177/0261927X16662967.

Atkinson, J.L., & Herro, S.K. (2010). “From the chartreuse kid to the wise old gnome of tennis: Age stereotypes as frames to describe Andre Agassi at the U.S. Open.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 34, 86-104.

Atkinson, J.L. (2009). “Age Matters in Sport Communication”. Electronic Journal of Communication, 19 (3&4).

Hummert, M.L., Garstka, T.A., Ryan, E.B., & Bonnesen, J.L. (2004). “The role of age stereotypes in interpersonal communication.” In J.F. Nussbaum, & J. Coupland (Eds.) Handbook of communication and aging research (2nd Ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Bonnesen, J.L., & Burgess, E.O. (2004). “Senior moments”: An analysis of an ageist attribution. The Journal of Aging Studies, 18, 123-142.

Bonnesen, J.L. & Hummert, M.L. (2002). “Painful self-disclosures of older adults in relation to aging stereotypes and perceived motivation.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 21, 275-301.

Lin, M.C., Harwood, J., & Bonnesen, J.L. (2002). “Conversation topics and communication satisfaction in grandparent-grandchild relationships.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 21, 302-323.

Vandeputte, D.D., Kemper, S., Hummert, M.L., Kemtes, K.A., Shaner, J.L., & Segrin, C. (1999). Social skills of older people: Conversations in same and mixed age dyads. Discourse Processes, 27, 55-76.

Hummert, M.L., Shaner, J.L., Garstka, T.A., & Henry, C. (1998). Communication with older adults: The influence of age stereotypes, context, and communicator age. Human Communication Research, 25, 124-151.

Hummert, M.L., Garstka, T.A., & Shaner, J.L. (1997). Stereotyping of older adults: The role of target facial cues and perceiver characteristics. Psychology and Aging, 12, 107-114.

Hummert, M.L., Shaner, J.L., & Garstka, T.A. (1995). Cognitive processes affecting communication with older adults: The case for stereotypes, attitudes, and beliefs about communication. In J.F. Nussbaum and J. Coupland (Eds.), Handbook of communication and aging research, (pp. 105-131). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hummert, M.L., Garstka, T.A., & Shaner, J.L. (1995). Beliefs about language performance: Adults’ perceptions about self and elderly targets. Journal of Language and Social Psycho Psychology, 14, 235-259.

Hummert, M.L., Garstka, T.A., Shaner, J.L., & Strahm, S. (1995). Judgments about stereotypes of the elderly: Attitudes, age associations, and typicality ratings of young, middle-aged and elderly adults. Research on Aging, 17, 168-189.

Hummert, M.L., Garstka, T.A., Shaner, J.L., & Strahm, S. (1994). Stereotypes of the elderly held by young, middle-aged, and elderly adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 49, P240-P249.

Hummert, M.L., & Shaner, J.L. (1994). Patronizing speech to the elderly as a function of stereotyping. Communication Studies, 45, 145-158.

Bonnesen, J.L. (1993). The rhetorical tradition: Theoretical foundations of public speaking. In M.L. Hummert and S.R. Emel (Eds.), Handbook of personal communication (pp. 25-27). New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.