Doublespeak, or using euphemisms to sway opinion, lets leaders keep away from the reputational prices of lying whereas nonetheless bringing individuals round to their mind-set, a brand new research has discovered.
Researchers on the University of Waterloo discovered that using agreeable euphemistic phrases biases individuals’s evaluations of actions to be extra beneficial. For instance, changing a unpleasant time period, “torture,” with one thing extra innocuous and semantically agreeable, like “enhanced interrogation.”
“Like the much-studied phenomenon of ‘fake news,’ manipulative language can serve as a tool for misleading the public, doing so not with falsehoods but rather with the strategic use of euphemistic language,” stated Alexander Walker, lead creator of the research and a PhD candidate in cognitive psychology at Waterloo. “The avoidance of objectively false claims may provide the strategic user of language with plausible deniability of dishonesty, thus protecting them from the reputational cost associated with lying.”
As a part of a collection of research investigating the effectiveness, penalties and mechanisms of doublespeak in a psychological context, the researchers investigated whether or not using language attribute of doublespeak can be utilized to affect peoples’ evaluations of actions.
The researchers recognized doublespeak because the strategic manipulation of language to affect the opinions of others by representing the truth in a fashion that advantages one’s self. To do that, the researchers assessed whether or not substituting an agreeable time period — for instance, “working at a meat-processing plant” instead of a semantically associated unpleasant time period like “working at a slaughterhouse” — has an influence on how an individual’s actions are interpreted.
The researchers’ outcomes confirmed that peoples’ evaluations of an motion could be biased in a predictable, self-serving manner when a person employs the strategic use of extra or much less agreeable phrases when describing an motion.
“Our study shows how language can be used strategically to shape peoples’ opinions of events or actions,” Walker stated. “With a lower level of risk, individuals may be able to utilize linguistic manipulation, such as doublespeak, often without correction.”
Materials supplied by University of Waterloo. Note: Content could also be edited for type and size.