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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Richard Crisp

Rubin, Mark, Paolini, Stefania & Crisp, Richard J. (2013). Linguistic Description Moderates the Evaluations of Counterstereotypical People. Social Psychology 44(4): 289-298.

Author(s) from Durham


The present research investigated linguistic description as a moderator of biased evaluations of counterstereotypical individuals. Members of an online participant pool (N = 237) indicated their liking for stereotypical and counterstereotypical individuals who were described using adjectives or behaviors. There was a significant interaction between target typicality and linguistic description: People liked counterstereotypical individuals more than stereotypical individuals when target individuals were described using adjectives. In contrast, they showed no bias or a negative bias against counterstereotypical individuals who were described using behaviors. This interaction effect generalized across gender targets (men/women) and sexuality targets (gay/straight), and it was partially mediated by subjective processing fluency. Implications for the backlash effect and prejudice reduction are discussed.