This research examined the consequences of communication for group perception and intergroup bias. Building on the intergroup sensitivity effect, a series of studies analyzed the role of linguistic abstraction as a moderator of group criticism and group praise. Findings showed that criticism coming from an outgroup member provoked higher defensiveness than criticism coming from an ingroup member only when the message was formulated with abstract terms – which imply higher generalizability and stability of the information transmitted – whereas no intergroup sensitivity effect was found with concrete outgroup criticism (Study 1). Participants receiving abstract criticism from an outgroup representative evaluated the speaker as more willing to offend, more prejudiced and less entitled to criticize. Importantly, they also reported less favorable attitudes towards the outgroup as a whole (Study 2). Considering praise, outgroup members who formulated abstract (vs. concrete) messages were perceived as more motivated by ingratiation motives. Conversely, concrete praise gave rise to more suspicion about ingroup speaker’s motives (Study 3). Finally, participants evaluated outgroup speakers as more prejudiced – and were less favorable toward the outgroup as a whole – when the praise was abstract rather than concrete (Study 4). Theoretically, this research underlines the role of language as a means through which cognition is implemented into action. Indeed, linguistic abstraction can facilitate or obstruct effective group communication, thus influencing the outcomes of intergroup interaction. Overall, these findings have interesting implications for the development of communicative strategies aimed at prejudice reduction.

Consequences of criticism and praise in intergroup contexts: The moderating role of linguistic abstraction.

MOSCATELLI, SILVIA;RUBINI, MONICA
2013

Abstract

This research examined the consequences of communication for group perception and intergroup bias. Building on the intergroup sensitivity effect, a series of studies analyzed the role of linguistic abstraction as a moderator of group criticism and group praise. Findings showed that criticism coming from an outgroup member provoked higher defensiveness than criticism coming from an ingroup member only when the message was formulated with abstract terms – which imply higher generalizability and stability of the information transmitted – whereas no intergroup sensitivity effect was found with concrete outgroup criticism (Study 1). Participants receiving abstract criticism from an outgroup representative evaluated the speaker as more willing to offend, more prejudiced and less entitled to criticize. Importantly, they also reported less favorable attitudes towards the outgroup as a whole (Study 2). Considering praise, outgroup members who formulated abstract (vs. concrete) messages were perceived as more motivated by ingratiation motives. Conversely, concrete praise gave rise to more suspicion about ingroup speaker’s motives (Study 3). Finally, participants evaluated outgroup speakers as more prejudiced – and were less favorable toward the outgroup as a whole – when the praise was abstract rather than concrete (Study 4). Theoretically, this research underlines the role of language as a means through which cognition is implemented into action. Indeed, linguistic abstraction can facilitate or obstruct effective group communication, thus influencing the outcomes of intergroup interaction. Overall, these findings have interesting implications for the development of communicative strategies aimed at prejudice reduction.
Intergroup conflict: The cognitive, emotional, and behavioral consequences of communication
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Moscatelli, Silvia; Rubini, Monica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/394487
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