April 30, 2014 | 1
I’m back at the BPS Research Digest today, with my second of three guest posts this week on recent social psychological research.
My second post is on a recent paper published by P.J. Henry, Sarah Butler, and Mark Brandt. In light of recent debates about whether or not certain group-based slurs are “more offensive” than others, the researchers decided to test one hypothesis about why some insults might seem worse than others — group status.
Over 250 participants read a story about “creative developers,” a group in a hypothetical workplace that either make very good money, have very good benefits, get three-day weekends, and are very important and influential (high status) or make very little money, have no benefits, have to work on the weekends, and are not important or influential at all (low status). The participants then imagined hearing someone in payroll derogate one of the Creative Developers for not understanding something, finishing up by saying, “What else can you expect from a Crappo?” Crappo, as the vignette explains, is a derogatory combination of the words “creative” and “poser.” As expected, participants who thought that Creative Developers were a low-status group rated the term “crappo” as significantly more offensive than those who thought that the Creative Developers were a high-status group.