The present research aims to verify the presence of linguistic biases in crime news reports (Study 1) and their role (Study 2) in activating a crime stereotype toward racial/ethnic minorities. In a first content analysis study, the natural occurrence of a set of linguistic biases was analyzed in Italian news articles that described comparable crimes committed by an in- or an outgroup aggressor. Results indicated that when the crime was committed by an outgroup (vs. ingroup) member, more aggravating and less attenuating adjectives were used. Moreover, the nationality of the perpetrator was not only mentioned more frequently, it also appeared in most cases as a noun. In Study 2, participants read a fictitious news article that either described an in- or outgroup criminal act with neutral or biased language. Their implicit associations between in- and outgroup members and weapons (vs. tools) were measured immediately afterward in the weapon paradigm. Results confirmed that a biased (vs. neutral) language use increased participants’ crime-related associations with the outgroup in general only when an outgroup criminal was staged. The role of media portrayals in determining the cognitive representations of racial/ethnic minorities is discussed.

They are All Armed and Dangerous! Biased Language Use in Crime News with Ingroup or Outgroup Perpetrators

Vaes, Jeroen
;
Latrofa, Marcella;Suitner, Caterina;Arcuri, Luciano
2017

Abstract

The present research aims to verify the presence of linguistic biases in crime news reports (Study 1) and their role (Study 2) in activating a crime stereotype toward racial/ethnic minorities. In a first content analysis study, the natural occurrence of a set of linguistic biases was analyzed in Italian news articles that described comparable crimes committed by an in- or an outgroup aggressor. Results indicated that when the crime was committed by an outgroup (vs. ingroup) member, more aggravating and less attenuating adjectives were used. Moreover, the nationality of the perpetrator was not only mentioned more frequently, it also appeared in most cases as a noun. In Study 2, participants read a fictitious news article that either described an in- or outgroup criminal act with neutral or biased language. Their implicit associations between in- and outgroup members and weapons (vs. tools) were measured immediately afterward in the weapon paradigm. Results confirmed that a biased (vs. neutral) language use increased participants’ crime-related associations with the outgroup in general only when an outgroup criminal was staged. The role of media portrayals in determining the cognitive representations of racial/ethnic minorities is discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3258399
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