Language use in intergroup contexts: the linguistic intergroup bias.

A. Maass, D. Salvi, L. Arcuri, G. Semin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three experiments examine how the type of language used to describe in-group and out-group behaviors contributes to the transmission and persistence of social stereotypes. Two experiments tested the hypothesis that people encode and communicate desirable in-group and undesirable out-group behaviors more abstractly than undesirable in-group and desirable out-group behaviors. Experiment 1 provided strong support for this hypothesis using a fixed-response scale format controlling for the level of abstractness developed from Semin and Fiedler's (1988a) linguistic category model. Experiment 2 yielded the same results with a free-response format. Experiment 3 demonstrated the important role that abstract versus concrete communication plays in the perpetuation of stereotypes. The implications of these findings and the use of the linguistic category model are discussed for the examination of the self-perpetuating cycle of stereotypes in communication processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-993
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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