Linguistic intergroup bias and implicit attributions

Luciano Arcuri, Anne Maass, Giovanna Portelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This experiment addresses the relation between the ‘Linguistic intergroup bias’ (that is, the tendency to describe positive in‐group and negative out‐group behaviours in more abstract terms than negative in‐group and positive out‐group behaviours) and the locus of causality and stability implicit in verbs. Subjects were presented with episodes of successful and unsuccessful interactions involving in‐group or out‐group protagonists. Applying Semin & Fiedler's (1988) ‘Linguistic category model’, subjects were asked to choose between two explanations of each episode, one expressed in more concrete interpretive action verbs (implying high subject causation but low stability), the other expressed in more abstract state verbs (implying low subject causation but high stability). Results show that negative in‐group and positive out‐group behaviours were described in more concrete terms despite the greater subject causation implicit in such verbs. 1993 The British Psychological Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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