The Effect of Language on Perception of Ingroups and Outgroups
Noll, Samantha M.
MetadataShow full item record
The mechanisms behind prejudice are a topic of long standing research in social psychology. The experimental exploration of prejudice through a cognitive psychology approach, however, is rarer. In particular, prior research has suggested that prejudice cannot be expressed without the use of language. That is, language is necessary for an individual to convey their thoughts and feelings about another group. Consequently, language influences prejudice. Thus, the aim of the present research was to examine how positive or negative language could influence prejudice. In particular, this research examined how perceptions of race and gender are altered based on the language used to describe an individual’s own racial ingroup. In total, 114 White Americans (50 men, 64 women) from the UWO psychology participant pool were recruited to participate in study that involved a language manipulation; surveys which rated feelings of others, racism, and sexism; as well as a demographic questionnaire via in person paper and pencil surveys. Specifically, the study examined how prejudice could be manipulated via language based on an outgroup member’s descriptions. Data were analyzed with both a mixed factorial ANOVA and independent samples t-tests to access how language (positive or negative) affected the perception of ingroups and outgroup members (target race and participant gender). Results suggested that language did not alter views of race or sex. Furthermore, this study focused on the importance of understanding language’s ability to change feelings and attitudes of different groups as an avenue for changing prejudicial views.