Implicit Attitudes of Ethnicity and Language: Evaluative and Associative Priming

Eva Margarita de la Riva Lopez, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Most members of minority groups belong to both an ethnic and a linguistic minority. The interplay between these two related yet independent constructs has not been explored. For this reason, this study examined language attitudes following the theoretical model of social categorization by using implicit measures. This study also investigated the implicit association between language and ethnicity. In this manner, the relationship that exists between attitudes towards minority groups and attitudes towards minority languages can be disentangled. A simultaneous study of implicit attitudes of ethnicity and language, and the association between ethnicity and language, may elucidate possible mechanisms involved in prejudice for both ethnic and linguistic minorities. ^ In a series of six sequential priming experiments, implicit ethnic attitudes, the association between ethnicity and language, and attitudes towards language were explored. Participants were Mexican-Americans, who were fluent Spanish-English bilinguals, Mexican-Nationals who were Spanish-dominant and Anglo-Americans who were English-dominant.^ Experiments 1 and 2 examined ethnic attitudes. Experiment 1 examined the effect that a photograph of an Anglo-American or a Mexican-American had on the processing of valenced words. In Experiment 2, the prime and target were reversed, such that a positive, a negative, or a neutral word was presented first and a face of either an Anglo-American or Mexican-American was subsequently presented. In Experiment 1 although the result was marginally significant, it was found that Anglo-Americans showed an in-group positivity bias. In Experiment 2, Mexican-Americans showed ethnic in-group positivity bias and Mexican-Nationals showed in-group negativity bias. ^ Experiments 3 and 4 examined the relationship between ethnicity and language. Experiment 3 examined the effect that an Anglo-American or a Mexican-American face has on the processing of a neutral English or Spanish word. In Experiment 4, the prime and target were reversed, such that a neutral English or Spanish word was presented first and a photograph of an Anglo-American or Mexican-American was subsequently presented. In Experiment 3, English-dominant Anglo-Americans associated Anglo-Americans with English and Mexicans with Spanish. In Experiment 4, for both the Mexican-American bilinguals and the Anglo-American English-dominant sample, English was associated with Anglo-Americans. For Anglo-Americans, Spanish was associated with Mexicans. ^ Experiment 5 and 6 examine language attitudes. In Experiment 5, a neutral English or Spanish word was presented as a prime to examine the effect it had on processing a word with a positive or negative valence. In Experiment 6, the prime and the target were reversed; a positive or negative word was presented as a prime whereas a neutral English or Spanish word was presented as target. In Experiment 5, Spanish- and English-dominant participants showed language out-group negativity bias. In Experiment 6, there was no evidence of in-group or out-group language bias for any of the samples. ^ The present study replicated previous research in ethnic attitudes and provides a new model for the study of implicit language attitudes. Ethnic and language attitudes are interpreted according to theories of social categorization. The interplay between ethnicity and language contributes to the understanding of prejudice towards ethno-linguistic minorities.^

Subject Area

Language, Linguistics|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Eva Margarita de la Riva Lopez, "Implicit Attitudes of Ethnicity and Language: Evaluative and Associative Priming" (January 1, 2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. Paper AAI3512070.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3512070

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