Mindful Attention Reduces Linguistic Expectancy Bias: Implications for Regulating Prejudice and Stereotypes Open Access

Tincher, Moses (2014)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/x346d424v?locale=en
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Abstract

A behavioral experiment demonstrated that mindful attention diminishes the linguistic expectancy bias (LEB). In the LEB, individuals tend to view members of their in-group to behave positively, and members of their out-group to behave negatively. As a consequence, individuals tend to use abstract language full of character inferences to describe these expected behaviors, and in contrast, use concrete, objective, detail-oriented language to describe unexpected behaviors. Eighty-four participants received either a brief mindful attention (observed their thoughts as fleeting mental states) or a control immersion training (absorbed in vivid details of thoughts). After this training, they viewed visual depictions of an imagined in-group or out-group member's positive and negative behaviors, and then selected the best linguistic description for each behavior from a set of descriptions that varied in abstractness. Participants who immersed in the depicted behaviors demonstrated a robust LEB. Participants who were taught to mindfully attend, however, had a markedly reduced LEB, describing in-group positive behaviors and out-group negative behaviors more concretely than the immersion groups. These findings suggest that even brief mindfulness-related training can reduce the propensity to perpetuate stereotypical thinking through language, improving our understanding of mechanisms that may facilitate non-prejudiced thinking.

Table of Contents

Introduction.................................................................................................................................. 1

Mechanisms

Mindfulness

The Present Study

Overview Method......................................................................................................................................... 8

Participants and Design

Materials

Procedure

Mindful Attention Instructions

Control Immersion Instructions

Multiple-Choice Task

Results......................................................................................................................................... 12 Discussion..................................................................................................................................... 15

Interpretation of Findings

LEB Replication LEB Modulation

Contributions

Limitations

Future Directions

Conclusion

References.................................................................................................................................... 23 Footnote....................................................................................................................................... 27 Table............................................................................................................................................ 28 Figure........................................................................................................................................... 29 Appendices.................................................................................................................................... 30

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