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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Attitude and Involvement in Language Processing

  • Author(s): Blackwell, Natalia
  • Advisor(s): Fox Tree, Jean E
  • et al.

The Context Model of language processing describes the effect of context on the interpretation of linguistic input. This series of experiments builds on that model, shedding light on how social context, specifically attitude, affects language processing. Listener attitude affected attention to content (Experiment 1), but this effect itself depended on how attitude was induced (Experiment 2), and was found to affect the way the story was recalled, in both a verbal and written format (Experiment 3). In Experiment 1, the more a listener liked a speaker, the more they attended to the content of the speaker's narrative. In Experiment 2, the more similar or more different to the speaker a listener believed themselves to be, the more they attended to what was said. In Experiment 3, the more a listener liked a speaker, the more affective words they used. Overall, it was found that attitude affected language processing in terms of attention, comprehension, and reproduction.

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