A Rose by Any Other Name? A Subtle Linguistic Cue Impacts Anger and Corresponding Policy Support in Intractable Conflict

Orly Idan, Eran Halperin, Boaz Hameiri, Michal Reifen Tagar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Given the central role of anger in shaping adversarial policy preferences in the context of intergroup conflict, its reduction may promote conflict resolution. In the current work, we drew on psycholinguistic research on the role of language in generating emotions to explore a novel, extremely subtle means of intervention. Specifically, we hypothesized that phrasing conflict-relevant policies in noun form (vs. verb form) would reduce anger and impact policy support correspondingly. Results across three experimental studies in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict supported these expectations for both support for concessions (Studies 1–3) and retaliatory policies (Study 3), with reduction in anger mediating the salutary impact of noun form (vs. verb form) on policy support. These results expand our understanding of the influence of language on emotions and policies in the context of conflict and have applied relevance for conflict-resolution efforts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)972-983
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Science
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s) 2018.

Keywords

  • anger
  • conflict management
  • conflict resolution
  • grammatical category
  • intergroup conflict
  • linguistic cue

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