Linguistic intergroup bias in political communication

Luigi Anolli, Valentino Zurloni, Giuseppe Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Linguistic Intergroup Bias (LIB) illustrates the disposition to communicate positive in-group and negative out-group behaviors more abstractly than negative ingroup and positive out-group behaviors. The present research examined the function of language in reinforcing this bias in political communication. To illustrate the LIB, the Linguistic Category Model (LCM) was used, including a nouns category. Because social stereotypes are usually conveyed by nominal terms, the aim was to observe the relationship between stereotypes and language in political communication. Moreover, we were interested in analyzing the psychological processes that drive the LIB. Therefore, we verified whether the LIB is more related to language abstractness than to agent-patient causality. Several political debates and interviews, which took place before the latest Italian provincial elections, were analyzed. Results suggested that the language politicians use in communicating about political groups are conceptualized as stereotypes rather than as trait-based categories. Moreover, it seems that the LIB could not be explained only at a lexical level. Social implications of the present findings in interpersonal relations and causal attribution were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-255
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of General Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Causal attribution
  • Discourse analysis
  • Linguistic intergroup bias
  • Persuasion
  • Political communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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