Sugaring the pill: Assessing rhetorical strategies designed to minimize defensive reactions to group criticism

Hornsey, M.J. and Robson, E. and Smith, J. and Esposo, S. and Sutton, R.M. (2008) Sugaring the pill: Assessing rhetorical strategies designed to minimize defensive reactions to group criticism. Human Communication Research, 34 (1). 70-U119. ISSN 0360-3989. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

People are considerably more defensive in the face of group criticism when the criticism comes from an out-group rather than an in-group member (the intergroup sensitivity effect). We tested three strategies that out-group critics can use to reduce this heightened defensiveness. In all studies, Australians received criticism of their country either from another Australian or from a foreigner. In Experiment 1, critics who attached praise to the criticism were liked more and agreed with more than were those who did not. In Experiment 2, out-group critics were liked more and aroused less negativity when they acknowledged that the problems they identified in the target group were shared also by their own in-group. In both experiments, the ameliorative effects of praise and acknowledgment were fully mediated by attributions of constructiveness. Experiment 3 tested the strategy of spotlighting; that is, of putting on the record that you intend your comments to apply to just a portion of the group rather than to the whole group. This strategy-which did not directly address the attributional issues that are presumed to underpin the intergroup sensitivity effect-proved ineffective. Practical and theoretical implications for intergroup communication are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Jane Griffiths
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2009 15:36
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2012 13:56
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/15693 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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