Effect of Language on Perceptions of People with Disabilities and People Experiencing Poverty
Dorsey, Amanda Nicole
Washington and Lee University -- Capstone in Cognitive and Behavioral Science
People with disabilities
Language and languages
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Amanda Nicole Dorsey is a member of the Class of 2021 of Washington and Lee University.Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Background: Language is powerful. We must be intentional about how we label others, as language can either perpetuate or combat power dynamics. There is no current consensus on exactly what language best upholds the dignity of labelled communities, however. This study aims to explore how language differentially affects perceptions of labelled communities, specifically people with disabilities and people experiencing poverty. This is to promote an informed decision on language norms while labelling traditionally disenfranchised communities. Methodology: Participants read vignettes about disability and poverty with either identity-first language (disabled people, poor people) or person-first language (people with disabilities, people experiencing poverty), administered on MTurk (N = 127). Then, they reported the extent to which these communities are warm and competent, both from their own perspective and the perspective of society. They also reported the extent to which society blames and pities each of these populations for their conditions.