Concrete Language and Sexual Prejudice Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Conlon, Ian James
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • This paper examines the role of concrete terminology in survey research and its relationship to prejudicial response. Using data from the 2004 National Annenberg Election Study, I examine responses to two similarly worded items about same-sex marriage. The two questions had near-identical wording, with the only exception being the terms used to refer to describe same-sex couples. The first wording asked about "gays and lesbians," whereas the second asked about "two men" or "two women." Drawing on research in cognitive psychology, I hypothesize that opposition to the second wording will be higher and more extreme because the wording is more concrete and thus more likely to evoke visualization. Additionally, I hypothesize that respondents from sociodemographic groups associated with heightened sexual prejudice will be disproportionately affected by the concrete wording. The results confirm both hypotheses. Implications for survey response and limitations of the current study are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
  • Perrin, Andrew J.
  • Open access

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