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Selection Bias in Choice of Words: Evaluations of ”I” and ”We” Differ between Contexts, but ”They” are Always Worse

Gustafsson Sendén, Marie; Sikström, Sverker LU and Lindholm, Torun (2014) In Journal of Language and Social Psychology 33(1). p.49-67
Abstract
In everyday life, people use language to communicate evaluative messages about social categories. We examine a selection bias in language across two social dimensions not previously integrated; a self-inclusive/self-exclusive dimension and an individual/collective dimension. We used pronouns as markers for social categories (I, We, He/she and They), and developed a new measure, the Evaluative Sentence Generating (ESG) task, to investigate the evaluative context selected for the pronouns. Results demonstrate that individuals select a more positive context for self-inclusive than self-exclusive pronouns, and a more positive contexts for individual than collective pronouns. However, in an interpersonal context, evaluative differences between... (More)
In everyday life, people use language to communicate evaluative messages about social categories. We examine a selection bias in language across two social dimensions not previously integrated; a self-inclusive/self-exclusive dimension and an individual/collective dimension. We used pronouns as markers for social categories (I, We, He/she and They), and developed a new measure, the Evaluative Sentence Generating (ESG) task, to investigate the evaluative context selected for the pronouns. Results demonstrate that individuals select a more positive context for self-inclusive than self-exclusive pronouns, and a more positive contexts for individual than collective pronouns. However, in an interpersonal context, evaluative differences between I and We diminished, whereas in an intergroup condition the evaluative gap between self-inclusive and self-exclusive pronouns was magnified. The ESG-task shows how language is used to form evaluative differences between social categories even in the absence of explicit comparisons or descriptions of specified persons or groups, and that it constitutes a new, simple and effective tool for measuring such biases across a number of domains. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
ingroup bias, language, pronouns, Evaluative Sentence Generating, psycholinguistics
in
Journal of Language and Social Psychology
volume
33
issue
1
pages
49 - 67
publisher
SAGE Publications Inc.
external identifiers
  • wos:000328608200004
  • scopus:84890651828
ISSN
0261-927X
DOI
10.1177/0261927X13495856
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
fdbc6ed9-86b7-442e-8a1b-ec61c274c598 (old id 3768526)
date added to LUP
2013-05-20 11:28:38
date last changed
2017-01-01 04:08:27
@article{fdbc6ed9-86b7-442e-8a1b-ec61c274c598,
  abstract     = {In everyday life, people use language to communicate evaluative messages about social categories. We examine a selection bias in language across two social dimensions not previously integrated; a self-inclusive/self-exclusive dimension and an individual/collective dimension. We used pronouns as markers for social categories (I, We, He/she and They), and developed a new measure, the Evaluative Sentence Generating (ESG) task, to investigate the evaluative context selected for the pronouns. Results demonstrate that individuals select a more positive context for self-inclusive than self-exclusive pronouns, and a more positive contexts for individual than collective pronouns. However, in an interpersonal context, evaluative differences between I and We diminished, whereas in an intergroup condition the evaluative gap between self-inclusive and self-exclusive pronouns was magnified. The ESG-task shows how language is used to form evaluative differences between social categories even in the absence of explicit comparisons or descriptions of specified persons or groups, and that it constitutes a new, simple and effective tool for measuring such biases across a number of domains.},
  author       = {Gustafsson Sendén, Marie and Sikström, Sverker and Lindholm, Torun},
  issn         = {0261-927X},
  keyword      = {ingroup bias,language,pronouns,Evaluative Sentence Generating,psycholinguistics},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {49--67},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications Inc.},
  series       = {Journal of Language and Social Psychology},
  title        = {Selection Bias in Choice of Words: Evaluations of ”I” and ”We” Differ between Contexts, but ”They” are Always Worse},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0261927X13495856},
  volume       = {33},
  year         = {2014},
}